The Federal Government on Tuesday issued a directive to all its Ministries, Department and Agencies to verify the authenticity of Tax Clearance Certificates (TCC) presented by contractors engaged by it before payment could be made to them.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, gave the directive in a circular issued in Abuja.
he directive is in response to the proliferation of forged Tax Clearance Certificates (TCC), purportedly issued prior to the automation of the certificates.
The government had on August 22, 2017 automated the issuance of the Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC).
The minister said the need to validate the Tax Clearance Certificate TCCs from the Federal Inland Revenue Service was borne out of the conviction that it would enhance the integrity of the tax system.
For the TCCs issued before August 22, 2017, the minister advised the MDAs and other stakeholders to forward a list of the companies and photocopies of the Tax Clearance Certificates TCCs to the office of the executive chairman, FIRS, for authentication.
The FIRS, she noted, had given assurances that the authenticity of such Tax Clearance Certificates (TCC) would be determined within 72 hours of receipt.
Adeosun reminded company directors that the possession of fake Tax Clearance Certificates (TCC) was a punishable offence under the law, adding that the outdated manual system was what gave room for the production of forged certificates.
She advised companies and individuals, who were in doubt as to the authenticity of their Tax Clearance Certificates (TCC), to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme to regularise their tax status.
Adeosun added that the Federal Ministry of Finance and the FIRS would continue to work in partnership with government at all levels and stakeholders towards eradicating tax fraud and evasion.
The Federal Government had in January this year directed vendors of the MDAs to display their Tax Identification Numbers on their invoices before payment would be effected.
The non-presentation of the TIN by the vendors was said to have largely contributed to leakages in revenue remittances, particularly Value Added Tax and Withholding Tax.