Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Kano politicians besiege Jigawa, Katsina for tax clearance certificates after KIRS jacked up charges

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Aspirants vying for political office in Kano are running to neighbouring states to obtain tax clearance certificates, following the ‘exorbitant charges’ set by Kano Internal Revenue Service, KIRS.

Tax clearance certificate is a requirement for aspirants before being screened to participate in the primary election of their respective political parties.

The KIRS recently released a template for the tax clearance fees for three years starting from 2019 to 2021 in the state.

The service therefore fixed a flat rate of N3,500,000,00 for governorship aspirants; N2,000,000 for deputy governorship; N1,399,000 00 for senatorial; N727,520,000 for House of Representatives and; N360,000 for House of Assembly aspirants.

DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that majority of the aspirants are opting for neighbouring states of Jigawa and Katsina for the tax clearance, citing exorbitant rates.

“It will not cost you more than N100,000 in Jigawa and Katsina for a State House of Assembly aspirant but in Kano you’ve to pay more than N300,000 which is not affordable,” said an aspirant who pleaded anonymity.

A Kano governorship aspirant who obtained his tax clearance in Jigawa told our reporter on the condition of anonymity that the arbitrary increase without justifiable reasons forced them to go to other states to obtain certificates.

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According to the aspirant, the revenue service failed to explain how it came about the figures and why it is a flat rate for all those aspiring for a given office.

When contacted, Hamisu Ado-Ma’aji, the director, Revenue Operation, KIRS, faulted the aspirants in the state for going to neighboring states to obtain tax certificates.

He said the amount may not reach up to N3.5 million if a governorship aspirant declares his income with supporting documents to the revenue service.

The supporting documents, according to Mr Ado-Ma’aji, include bank statements of all the banks he is using and the BVN, adding that this would enable the revenue service to clarify issues about the income of the  aspirant.

“If a governorship aspirant who purchases nomination form at N50 million or N30 million, and can not pay tax to the state, that means he does not deserve to be given the ticket.

“For a governorship aspirant to leave his state and go to another state to obtain tax certificate is unfortunate and that aspirant does not want the state to progress and should not be considered.

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“What an aspirant supposed to do is to declare his income properly to us and give us supporting documents. These supporting documents are at least his bank statement of all the banks he is operating and his BVN in order to clarify all issues he declared in the documents.

“Based on these supporting documents, we will determine his actual income from the period of 2019, 2020 and 2021. From there, we will calculate all his income and determine the tax due for him. It might not be up to the N3.5million, it could be N10,000 or even N5,000 based on the assessment. We will only charge what is due, no more no less.

“Let me tell you, this could be investigated and if found wanting, it is tantamount to tax evasion, which criminal act and punishable by law.

“Law has empowered us to investigate an aspirant to see if he pay tax here in Kano or somewhere else. If it’s in another state, he must give cogent reason, otherwise, we can charge him to court of justice because it is tax evasion.

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“The best option for an aspirant is for him to bring his bank statement and BVN to check his income and determine what is due for him. But, based on ‘Judgement Assessment’, if an aspirant pays the N3.5 million upfront, then we will issue the certificate outright for him,” he said.

Mr Ado-Ma’aji lamented that many people in the state do not want to pay tax to the state, appealing the media to support the KIRS in enlightening the public to pay tax.

“Ironically, these politicians do not want to pay tax until when they are aspiring for public office then they come to pay tax and if they are told the amount to pay, they become reluctant and even cross to another state to pay, this is unpatriotic,” he added.

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