Bill to establish tax crimes commission passes second reading

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed through the second reading, a Bill for an Act to establish the National Inspector-General for Tax Crime Commission, and for related matters.

Sponsored by Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia) the bill seeks to address leakages emanating from non-payment and underpayment of taxes; irregularities in the assessment, reporting and remittances of taxes.

The proposed legislation also intends to prevent and combat tax-related crimes; plug all leakages in the tax administration system, and ensure the protection of taxpayers’ rights.

In his lead debate, Kalu said the thrust of the bill is to establish a system for the independent oversight of revenue collection authorities in Nigeria with the aim of promoting the economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the administration of revenue laws.

The House spokesperson also said the proposed legislation is aimed at increasing revenue generation through plugging leakages, expansion of the tax net, ensuring fair and transparent tax system as well as protecting the rights of the taxpayers.

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He said, “To effectively combat as well prevent international tax evasion and other transnational organized crimes and abuses of the nation’s financial system, there is need to establish a Tax Crimes Commission which will have adequate capacity to investigate, prevent and combat tax related crimes.

“This will definitely contribute to our national security through prevention of tax related crimes, prevention of illicit financial flow derived from tax evasion, international tax schemes, cybercrime, etc.

“The Tax Crimes Commission will not function as a law court, it will not duplicate the functions of the Tax Appeal Tribunals established in accordance with section 59(1) of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007 and it will not have quasi-judicial functions.

“The Commission shall primarily focus on the oversight of the tax administration system, ensuring that the tax authorities discharge their duties within the laws, protecting, promoting and guaranteeing tax payers’ rights, where necessary ensuring the prosecution of corrupt and fraudulent tax officials, ensuring the complete remittances of all public revenues, ensuring the increase of public revenue not through increased taxation but through friendly and appropriate taxation, among other things.

“The Commission will ultimately ensure that the five basic qualities of a good tax system, which include fairness, adequacy, simplicity, transparency and administrative ease, are entrenched in the Nigerian tax system.”

The House also passed for second reading, a Bill for an Act to introduce Preventive Measures and Teaching of Breast and Cervical Cancers into the Curriculum of a Compulsory Subject (Civic Education) for Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria sponsored by Yusuf Tanko Sununu (APC, Kebbi) and Julius Ihonvbere (APC, Edo).

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