Tax enforcement for real —Oyo govt

Following the recent sealing off of some firms by the Oyo State Inter-ministerial tax enforcement team over tax default, the state government has vowed to be unrelenting in ensuring that all individuals and corporate organisations keep their tax affairs up to date.

According to the Special Adviser to the state governor on Board of Internal Revenue, Mr Biyi Oloko, the era of tax evasion or avoidance was gone, adding that the tax enforcement which commenced on August 17 was for real.

He said the tax enforcement team would push for the payment of all forms of taxes, levies and fines as a key component of the renewed focus of the state government on building its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

Boasting of a reliable database which dated back to 2011, Oloko said some corporate entities had begun checking to confirm their tax position and defaulters had commenced payment promptly.

Oloko noted that the state government had unsealed all the corporate organisations that were sealed off last Thursday, having reconciled their tax position.

“It is an ongoing activity, so, it is a destination which, by any means, we will carry on. People are not necessarily going to know when and where. But the expectation is that people should put their tax affairs up to date. And anyone that is unsure should find out how much is owed. We have unsealed MTN, Shoprite, Airtel and all other corporate organisations that were sealed off.

“We are getting more favourable responses from other tax-paying identities, so, the awareness has worked in terms of people inquiring and ensuring that their tax affairs are up to date.

Some were making payment just as we got there. By the third day, corporate entities were already checking and confirming their tax position and rectifying that promptly,” Oloko said.

“Some expect that the usual tax evasion, avoidance will continue but this tax enforcement is real because of the pressure on state finances as well as the reduction in Federal Allocation. There will be more push for payment of all taxes, levies and fines.”

“When we said that we had a tax base of defaulters, it wasn’t a showbiz statement. It was a statement of fact and that took a few individuals and corporate firms aback at the quality of the data that we had. So, when we told them that they were in arrears, they didn’t realise that they were or maybe their records were not as up to date as ours. But they were indebted. We went back to 2013, in some cases 2011,” Oloko said.