The Federal Government on Tuesday issued a directive to all Ministries, Department, and Agencies of government to verify the authenticity of Tax Clearance Certificates presented by contractors that are engaged by the government before payment could be made to them.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, gave the directive in a circular issued on Tuesday in Abuja.
The directive, is in response to the proliferation of forged TCCs, purportedly issued prior to the automation of the certificates.
The government had on August 22 last year automated the issuance of TCC from manual to an electronic process.
The finance minister said the need to validate the TCC from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, was borne out of the conviction that it would enhance the integrity of the tax system.
For TCCs issued before August 22, 2017, the minister in the circular advised MDAs and other stakeholders to forward a list of the companies and photocopies of the TCCs to the office of the Executive Chairman, FIRS for authentication.
The FIRS, she noted, had given assurances that the authenticity of such TCC would be determined within 72 hours of receipt.
She reminded company directors that possession of fake TCC is an offense that is punishable under the law, adding that the outdated manual system was what gave room for production of forged TCCs.
She advised companies and individuals who are in doubt as to the authenticity of their TCCs to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme to regularise their tax status.
Adeosun added that the Federal Ministry of Finance and the FIRS would continue to work in partnership with government at all levels and stakeholders towards eradicating tax fraud and evasion.
The Federal Government had in January this year directed vendors of MDAs to display their Tax Identification Numbers on their invoices before payments are effected.
The non-presentation of a TIN by the vendors was said to have largely contributed to leakages in revenue remittances, particularly Value Added Tax and Withholding Tax.