Lagos - The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) says it has sealed seven companies for allegedly defaulting in remitting N22 million taxes.
Mrs Folasade Coker-Afolayan, the Head of the Distrain Unit of the service, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
She said that the companies were shut for not remitting personal income taxes of workers to the state government.
Coker-Afolayan, who led the enforcement team, said that the state government was being owed taxes ranging from one to three years.
According to her, it is unconstitutional for any company to withhold personal income taxes and was also a criminal offence for anyone to reopen sealed companies without authorisation from the government.
``It is unconstitutional for anyone to reopen any sealed company.
``Only the state government can reopen such companies after they might have remitted the taxes to the government coffer,” Coker-Afolayan said.
Coker-Afolayan urged the defaulters to pay their debts so as to have their companies reopened.
She also advised companies to remit their taxes promptly to the government.
``It is better for companies to pay their taxes as at when due to avoid sanction and consequently avert loss of productivity,’’ she said.
According to her, the agency’s action is derived from an order of the State High Court and in accordance with the Personal Income Tax Amendment Act of 2011.
Coker-Afolayan said that the new law provided for the tax authority to apply to the court for warrant to close the premises of defaulting tax payers.
She urged tax payers to cooperate with the LIRS officials to enforce relevant regulations and ensure prompt remittance of their taxes as and when due.
The official also said that it was unlawful for anyone to assault tax officials while performing their duties.
``Anyone found assaulting tax officials will be dealt with accordingly,’’ she warned.
NAN reports that the LIRS sealed 13 companies in September for defaulting to remit N140 million personal income taxes to the state government.