The Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday issued a one week notice to 10 commercial banks operating in the state to remit a total of N2.3 billion withholding tax they owe the government or risk closure.
The official listed the banks affected as, Zenith Bank, Diamond Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Ecobank, Skye Bank, Heritage Bank, Unity Bank, Access Bank, Union Bank and Fidelity Bank.
Francis Kozah, Legal Adviser to the revenue agency in Kaduna that the N2.3 billion was the total withholding tax the banks failed to remit to government between 2011 and 2016.
“We have already commenced the legal process to recover the amount through a written notification to the affected banks operating within the city center,” he said.
Kozah added: “The assessment period is 2011-2016 and the value of the assessment cumulatively is N2.3 billion.
“So, this is the amount of money we are expected to collect as withholding tax of interest from the banks for the period.
“Withholding tax of interest is a tax that is recognized by the personal income tax act as amended in 2011. The tax emanates from the federal legislation and accrues to the states.”
He said the affected banks had been given two weeks ultimatum to initiate payment or risk being sealed off by the state government.
“So the banks that operate in the state are by this law bound to deduct this tax and remit to the government of that state and this is what they have failed to do.
“As I said as required by law, we initiated the process by requesting for certain documents from them that will enable us to complete our tax audit on these banks.
“Some of them supplied part of the information, others did not, so what we did was, we now called a meeting to reconcile our position with them.
“We came with them, we held meetings with them and we agreed at such meetings that we are going to give them some leverage, sometimes, some grace period to enable them supply the information that will enable us perfect and rap up this agreement.
“We entered into written resolution with them and their consultants, they failed to abide by the written agreement and so, failing which our assessment becomes final.
“So we have reached a stage, we are now taking our assessments as final and conclusive,“ he said.
According to him, the present exercise is to notify the affected banks that the assessment is final and conclusive, and are expected to “make payment within seven days, failing which we execute a warrant of restraint on those banks.“
He stressed that “what we would just do is to seal off the banks” after the seven days.