The federal government on Friday apologised to Nigerians over a directive by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to account holders in financial institutions to complete self-certification forms.
It would be recalled that the FIRS had in a tweet yesterday demanded all account holders in banks, including insurance companies, to fill and submit a self-confirmation form.
“This is to notify the general public that all account holders in financial institutions (banks, insurance companies, etc) are required to obtain, complete, and submit self-certification forms to their respective financial institutions.
“Failure to comply with the requirement to administer or execute this form attracts sanctions which may include monetary penalty or inability to operate the account,” it tweeted.
The directive was issued despite that account holders possess the Bank Verification Number (BVN) and the National Identification Number (NIN).
Following massive outrage that greeted the new order, the federal government which described it as “misleading” said the notice did not apply to everybody.
It added that the service will soon issue an appropriate clarification on the statement.
“We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by reportable persons. The message contained in the @firsNigeria notice does not apply to everybody. FIRS will issue appropriate clarification shortly.”
Although the tweet was a mistake, FIRS published the advertisement on the directive in national dailies.
Clarifying the issue in a statement, the FIRS said only “reportable persons” are expected to submit the form.
“This is to clarify the publication for financial institutions account holders in Nigeria to complete the self-certification form, pursuant to the Income Tax (Common Reporting Standard) Regulations 2019 which is for the fulfillment of Automatic Exchange of Information Requirements.
“The Self Certification form is basically to be administered on reportable persons holding accounts in financial institutions that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.
“Reportable persons are often non-residents. And other persons who have a residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or country.
“Financial institutions are expected to administer the self certification form on such account holders when the information at its disposal indicates that the account holder is a person resident for tax purpose in more than one jurisdiction.
“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during the account opening processes for the KYC and AML purpose,” it stated.