The Bayelsa Board of Internal Revenue (BIR), on Friday sealed off the liaison office of Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe situated in the state capital, Yenagoa.
Also sealed are the operations of a Sand Dredging firm, Azikel Group.
The action was a punitive measure for failing to remit Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax deducted from their employees for several years.
The operation was led by the Head of Enforcement of BIR, Mr. Reuben Lugard who had served a court order on the staff of the two organizations before they ordered them to leave their offices.
According to the court orders pasted at the gates in the premises, the outstanding employee tax debt from the Federal Polytechnic, Ekeowe stood at two hundred and thirty-one million, three hundred and thirteen thousand, two hundred and ten naira only (N231, 313, 210)
Azikel Group owed thirty million, three hundred and sixty four thousand, six hundred and forty-five naira, fifty-eight kobo only (N30, 364, 645.58)
Mr Ramsey Omukoro, Technical Adviser to Bayelsa BIR, said the state government took the steps following fruitless efforts made to recover the outstanding tax deducted from workers’ salaries since 2009.
Omukoro said the operation was part of renewed efforts to boost the internally generated revenue of the state, and to send a signal to all taxable adults and organisations that the Bayelsa government is serious in its drive for tax revenue.
“This operation seeks to recover tax revenue owed to the government by Federal Polytechnic Ekeowe and Azikel group and it is pursuant to Section 104 of Personal Income Tax Law, 2011 and to reinforce the resolve of the government to grow the IGR.
“Within the past one week, we have grown to IGR by over 100 percent to the current figure of N1.8 billion and we are poised to work harder in view of the pressure of the recession following dwindling allocation from the federation account.
“The debt has been owed since 2009 for the Polytechnic up till 2015 and we have yet to conclude computations for 2016 and 2017 are about ending.
“Executing these orders is our last resort, we have persuaded them, we have written series of letters to them to pay, but no response from them. ’’ Omukoro said
He said at the expiration of 14 days from December 15, if the tax liability was not settled, the revenue board will be compelled to liquidate assets of organisations to recover the tax debt.
Meanwhile staff of the Federal Polytechnic, who were forced out of their offices, wondered why the management of the Polytechnic could not remit the taxes deducted from their salaries urging the BIR to take necessary legal steps to recover the tax.
Chris Eze, Yenagoa