35 Illegal Tax Collectors Face Prosecution- Benue IRS

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The Benue State Internal Revenue Service (BIRS) is stepping up its enforcement efforts as it reveals that 35 individuals involved in illegal tax collection in the state are now facing prosecution.

Emmanuel Agena, the Acting Chairman of BIRS, made this disclosure while outlining the agency’s ambitious target of surpassing a revenue generation goal of over N16 billion for the year 2024.

Speaking with journalists on Monday, Agena highlighted the agency’s achievement in 2023, where it exceeded its N14 billion revenue target. However, he expressed concerns about the persistence of illegal tax collection activities in the state, often with the support of influential figures.

Under his leadership, Agena affirmed that the era of patronage-driven tax collection, particularly involving politicians, is now a thing of the past.

The BIRS boss condemned a recent incident where a truck carrying palliatives from Adamawa to Anambra State was hijacked by youths in Aliade, Gwer East. He detailed the arrest of three suspects in connection with the incident and their impending investigation by the Department of State Services (DSS).

Agena emphasized the agency’s commitment to tackling illegal tax collection, stating, “We aim to flush out or reduce illegal tax collectors to the barest minimum.” He highlighted the arrest and prosecution of 35 individuals engaged in such activities as a significant step towards achieving this goal.

Furthermore, Agena outlined the agency’s plans to recover over N5.6 billion from ground rent, with collaboration from the state’s Ministry of Land. Additionally, he mentioned the engagement of Softnet, an ICT company, to enhance revenue collection through technology-driven solutions. Over 250 trained staff equipped with Point of Sale systems are now deployed to collect revenue efficiently.

Highlighting the importance of public trust in taxation, Agena emphasized the positive impact of visible government projects on taxpayers’ willingness to comply. He stated, “Taxation is about confidence. Our work now is easy because taxpayers are willing to pay because the people are seeing what the government is doing.”

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