A bill seeking to establish the Tax Crimes Commission has scaled second reading at the Senate.
This followed the lead debate of the bill at Wednesday’s plenary by the sponsor, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu (APC-Abia). Kalu, while speaking, said the bill was designed to address irregularities in tax remittances, address non-payment and underpayment of taxes and protect taxpayers rights.
According to him, the bill, if passed into law will protect taxpayer rights, address the lacunas in the tax administration system in the country.
This, he said would further make the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), accountable and create avenues for taxpayers to make complaints over tax-related matters.
Kalu said the bill would also address taxpayers’ grievances and complaints promptly, as well as provide for an effective tax crime redress system.
He said the creation of the Tax Crime Commission would ultimately empower criminal tax investigators with forensic accounting skills.
This is to combat national security threats and pursue illicit financial flows occasioned by tax evasion, international tax schemes, cybercrime, or terrorism financing. He said the bill sought to complement the FIRS toward ensuring compliance with payment of tax, develop and implement national policy for tracking down tax defaulters and develop tax compliance strategies.
“Taxation is the key to unlocking the resources required for public investment and infrastructural growth.
“Therefore, a fair, just, efficient and simple tax administration system is crucial to induce confidence amongst the citizens to pay their taxes as their national and patriotic obligations.”
In his contribution, Sen. Isah Jubrin ( APC-Kogi), commended Kalu for initiating the bill, having moved for its second reading.
President of Senate, Ahmad Lawan, shortly after the bill passed second reading referred it to the Senate Committee on Finance, for further legislative work and to report back to plenary in four weeks.