It’s no longer news that every viable business must be registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), whether it’s an ordinary business name or a limited liability company, but this registration at CAC is not just all you need to do as far as Nigeria is concerned at the moment. Want to know why? Read the story of my experience with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) three weeks ago.
It was on the 27th day of July, 2016 when I had to visit Guaranty Trust Bank Plc to open another current corporate account for my business, FraNKAPPWeb Technologies. On getting to GTBank, I had every required document about my business including the CAC Certificate, International Passport, Utility Bill, Bank Current Account Holders References and many others except my business Tax Identification Number (TIN). The bank required that I should go and get my TIN from FIRS at any close branch. At first, I was not happy with the situation regarding the stress and fare and probably charges the journey will incur. But I quickly remembered some advert I used to see both on television and other media begging registered business owners to go to FIRS and collect their Tax Identification Number (TIN) and also register for Value Added Tax (VAT) for free. On remembering this my heart calmed and I zoomed off immediately to FIRS, Awka, Anambra State branch, just opposite Govt. House.
When I got to FIRS, Awka, I unhesitatingly passed all the bureaucracies in the Office including signing in and signing out, all done once with the high hope of getting my TIN and leave immediately. I finally entered inside the office where they are issuing the TIN. On sitting down, oh my world, drama started.
The employee there started to list all the requirements I need to get my TIN. In my mind, all these procedures to get just an ordinary TIN? I said no problem I will do them all and I must Get my TIN today. One of the conditions was for me to write a letter to the Director of FIRS with my company’s letter headed paper. That was too simple for me because I always have my company’s letter headed paper with me. I had to rush down to one of the computer business centers around there and print the letter. I even left my balance of N60 for the computer operator there because I was in a hurry to finish up. Now, I rushed back to FIRS with a calm mind of getting the job done, but I never knew that I just concluded Episode 1 of 50 Episodes. My dear people of Nigeria, season movie began from here.
At this juncture, the employee started telling me the story of Mike Ejeaya, that because of my late registration for TIN and VAT since I registered my business that I have to pay an accrued sum of NGN 40,800 before my TIN will be generated. God of Women! I openly exclaimed. I did not say anything until after 5 mins when I asked her…What? She wasted no seconds to say, “You heard me right”. With a loud voice and with the feeling that customers are always right, I asked her why such a charge when I used to see on adverts that TIN is for free? She now said that the new policy is coming from their new director. Stating that every business owner is ought to know that TIN and VAT registration is compulsorily priority. That I was supposed to know that after business registration at CAC, I need to go to FIRS for TIN and VAT registration. To be sincere, I did not know this and nobody not even from the CAC office told me about this. I did plead all I can with them that day but all was to no avail and their working time elapsed. Coming out of the office, I saw two other persons with the same problem; the first person was a case of NGN 148,000 and the other was NGN 90,000. The first person said that instead of paying such amount, he will leave the company to die off and go for another one.
After hearing all these cases, I left home peacefully waiting for the next day to come. And the next day came indeed. This time, I went to FIRS Onitsha to know whether the case will be different there. On getting there, my dear people of Nigeria, it was worse over there. Their calculation for my debt at Onitsha was like the one they used the quadratic almighty formula to solve. You know that feeling when you are dealing with -b +/- (Sqr ((b^2) – (4ac)))/2a.
I zoomed off immediately back to Awka where I went to plead and plead. I started displaying some innocent face. At this time, I got no liver to raise my voice again. That was when I started remembering some business laws that include law of diminishing return. My dear people of Nigeria, my voice went diminished. I even went as far as helping them to turn on their electricity generator. Finally and finally, I succeeded. I later got my Tax Identification Number (TIN).
If you are a business or company owner registered at Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), it’s a good thing to know that you are required to go to Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and generate your TIN and also register for Value Added Tax (VAT) before it’s too late. You might be saying that this is all free but you can also agree with me that new policies can emerge anytime in Nigeria without prior notice. Just think of how the Dollar – Naira exchange rate has been taking our economy by surprise talk more of mere policies.
I advise you now to go to FIRS with a letter requesting for your company’s TIN. This letter should be imprinted on your company’s letter headed paper and also directing the letter to the director.
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