FG Decries Proliferation Of Fake Tax Clearance Certificates By Contractors

The Federal Government, on Tuesday decried the increasing incidences of fake Tax Clearance Certificates (TCCs), especially those purportedly issued before August 22, 2017 automation exercise, by contractors seeking government contracts.

The directive, according to a statement by Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, is in response to the proliferation of forged TCCs purportedly issued prior to the automation of the certificates from August 22, 2017. The validation of the TCCs will enhance the integrity of the tax system.

She reminded directors of companies operating in the country that possession of fake TCC “is an offence,” while stressing the need for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government (MDAs) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to authenticate all tax certificates presented by companies and individuals engaged in the public procurement processes.

The statement by Oluyinka Akintunde, Special Adviser, Media & Communications to the Minister, linked the desperation to procure fake TCCs to the directive by the Federal Government, last January, ordering vendors of MDAs to display their Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) on their invoices before payments are effected.

The FG reasoned that “the non-presentation of a TIN by the vendors largely contributed to leakages in revenue remittances, particularly Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT).”

Specifically, a circular issued on Tuesday by Mrs. Adeosun, requires the MDAs to authenticate all TCCs prior to making any payment, while “electronic TCCs (e-TCCs) can be verified by logging into https//tcc.firs.gov.ng and taking the following steps: click on verify e-TCC, enter the TCC number and complete the captcha, and click on submit to view the TCC number entered.”

For TCCs issued before August 22, 2017, the circular urged MDAs and other stakeholders to forward a list of such companies and photocopies of their TCCs to the Executive Chairman, FIRS for authentication.

The FIRS, she stressed further, has undertaken to verify such TCCs within 72 hours of receipt.

The now outdated manual system, the statement noted, allowed production of forged TCCs, urging companies and individuals in doubt as to the authenticity of their TCCs to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) to regularise.

She added that the Federal Ministry of Finance and the FIRS will continue to work in partnership with government at all levels and stakeholders towards eradicating tax fraud and evasion.