By Danjuma Joseph, Lafia.
The Nasarawa State Internal Revenue Service (NIRS), has sealed off 10 branches of three banks over alleged failure to remit taxes deducted from customers in the state to the board.
It will be recall that the revenue agency sealed Diamond bank branches some weeks ago, for allegedly defaulting to remit deducted revenue to the coffers of the state.
Reacting to the latest development, Chairman of NIRS, Alhaji Usman Okposhi, confirmed to journalists in Lafia, yesterday that four branches each of Skye Bank and Unity Bank, and two branches of Keystone Bank were affected by the closure since on Tuesday.
Alhaji Okposhi, said the action was backed by Section 104 of the Personal Income Tax Act that mandates tax authority to reconcile with the banks the level of compliance of the tax payers.
“The recent closure hinges on the failure on the part of the banks to comply with appropriate directive, as provided by the law and in the matter at hand, banks are not our tax payers, the customers in the banks are our tax payers.
“They are the agents empowered by law to make deductions, but they are withholding tax on dividends, withholding tax on fixed deposits and other relevant taxes, when we demanded documents to review their level of compliance, the banks refused,” he said.
The revenue boss said the agency was compelled to use legal means in sealing up the banks since the institutions allegedly failed to comply with the law after several demand notices.
He disclosed that they secured a motion ex parte order from the State High Court in Lafia, to seal up all the branches of the three banks in the state until they comply with the NSIRS directive.
“After giving them several notices, we gave them reminders, we gave them warnings, we even served them an ex parte order from the court, but they still refused, we had to go to court again to get another order to seal up their branches in the state.
Okposhi appealed to customers of the three banks to exercise patience while the matter was being resolved.
LEADERSHIP gathered from a reliable source in NIRS that Key Stone Bank, had complied by downloading the data of the revenue collected so far and their branches were opened for business.
All efforts to speak to managements or staff of the affected banks in Lafia proved abortive.
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