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Kaduna govt seals Keystone, FCMB branches over N294.85m tax debt

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Nasir El-Rufai

By Simon Ujah, Kaduna

The Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service, (KDIRS), on Tuesday sealed off Keystone Bank and First City Monument Bank, FCMB, branches in Kaduna metropolis over unremitted taxes.

The branches, sealed off around 7 a.m. are Keystone Bank, Bank Road branch, Ahmadu Bello Way and Kachia branches respectively.

FCMB Yakubu Gowon Way, Ali Akilu Road and Kachia Road branches were also closed.

The Executive Chairman of the agency, Dr Zaid Abubakar, told journalists after the exercise, that the banks’ branches were sealed off for failing to remit Pay-As-You-Earn, PAYE, and withholding tax.

Abubakar explained that the Keystone Bank beaches were sealed off for failure to remit PAYE and all withholding tax except withholding tax on interests, between 2007 and 2016, amounting to N222.8 million.

He added that FCMB branches were also closed for withholding tax on interest from 2007 to 2018, which amounted to over N72 million.

“When you put these together, the total liabilities amounted to N294.85 million, which we want them to pay.

“We carried out the tax audit along with the banks’ officials; sent them our report, assessment and demand notices.

“KDIRS wrote to the banks’ management several times, but they refused to come for reconciliation and failed to respond to our demand notices.

“Therefore, we had no option but to sealed off the branches according to relevant tax laws,” he said.

Also speaking, KDIRS’ Head of Enforcement, Mr Ado Garba, said that sealing the banks was part of enforcement to ensure compliance to relevant tax laws.

Ado said that the branches would be opened as soon as the respective banks pay the required taxes.

He also said that the affected backs were equally expected to pay N250, 000 each, being the cost incurred to enforce the restraint.

On his part, KDIRS Secretary and Legal Adviser, Mr Francis Kozah, said that the banks have a 14-day window to remit all the tax liabilities.

Kozah added if the banks failed to pay withing the next 14 days, the agency would sell off their movable assets to recover the taxes due to the state.

He said that part of the resolution of KDIRS in 2020 was ensure full implementation of tax laws in the state.

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