The Federal Government has directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to ensure that all Tax Clearance Certificates (TCCs) presented by companies and individuals engaged in public procurement processes were authenticated before paying them.

The directive is in response to the proliferation of forged TCCs purportedly issued prior to the automation of the certificates from 22nd August, 2017.

A Circular issued by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on the directive, ordered the MDAs to authenticate all TCCs prior to making any payment, providing them information on how Electronic TCCS (e-TCCs) can be verified.

According to a statement issued by the Minister’s Special Adviser, Media and Communications, Oluyinka Akintunde, for TCCs issued before 22nd August, 2017, the MDAs and other stakeholders are advised to forward a list of the companies and photocopies of the TCCs to the office of the Executive Chairman, FIRS for authentication.

The statement indicated that the FIRS had also undertaken to verify TCCs within 72 hours of receipt.

Adeosun advised companies and individuals in doubt as to the authenticity of their TCCs to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) to regularize.

She stated further that her ministry and the FIRS would continue to work in partnership with government at all levels and stakeholders towards eradicating tax fraud and evasion.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had last January directed vendors of MDAs to display their Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) on their invoices before payments would be effected.

The minister noted that non-presentation of TINs by the vendors in the past contributed largely to leakages in revenue remittances, particularly Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT).