FIRS Stops Freeze On Accounts Tax Defaulters

Yemisi Izuora 

The Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS. has suspended the freeze on tax payers bank account. 

The service in a letter dated 15th February 2019 addressed to Managing Directors of all Nigerian banks titled Temporary suspension of lien on customers account and attention compliance officers said “the suspension has become imperative because of the large number of taxpayers visiting our office for reconciliation and as a result creating inconveniences to the tax payers when they have to wait a long while due to the high traffic of visiting tax payers to our office. Kindly treat as urgent.” It however said that the suspension is for 30 days.

The Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) had written to banks to appoint them as collection agents of taxpayers considered to be in default of tax payments. In order to achieve this, the FIRS directed the relevant banks to freeze the accounts of the taxpayers to prevent them from drawing funds from the accounts.

KPMG had said that the letters of substitution issued to the banks breach the confidentiality agreement between banks and their clients. “Generally, a bank has a fiduciary obligation to maintain the confidentiality of its customers and their transactions, and to prevent third-party access to the customers’ account information”. The exceptions to this duty are in cases where the bank is required by law or a court of competent authority to make disclosure, and where the customer consents to the disclosure.

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