Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service, KADIRS, yesterday, sealed bet9ja, Derby Lotto, Bet King and others in the Gaming business for withholding taxes and operating illegally in the state.
KADIRS acted legally by obtaining Court Order from the Magistrate Court Holden at Daura road, Kaduna, which gave it the impetus to distrain on all the premises of the respondent (Gaming Companies) in Kaduna State for not registered with the applicant (KADIRS).
The Executive Chairman Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service, Dr. Zaid Abubakar, disclosed that the companies were sealed because of failure to register with state government, obtain licenses and to allow their system to integrate with that of KADIRS in addition with the N500m withholding taxes being owed by these companies: KC Gaming Networks N325m; Bet King N68m and Access bet N33m.
The tax administrator went further to say that the closure of the Gaming premises is to make taxpayers to be compliant with the provision of the law and to step up the revenue generating agency’s collection mechanism.
Saying, the newly amended Codification and Consolidation Law, which was assented into law in January, 2020 makes it a requirement for Gaming, Lottery, Casino, Sport Betting Companies to register and obtain a license before they operate in Kaduna state.
According to him, before his staff descended on the Gaming Companies and sealed up their premises, KADIRS had sent the Gaming operators series of letters demanding them to register and obtain license because that’s the new requirement in the state before one will be legally allowed to operate the business but, he said, they failed to comply with the provision of the law after the expiration of almost 60 days and for the agency to work with the provision of the law, the next thing they did was to closed the premises of the companies operating illegally in the state.
The next line of action, he added, after closure is to take the next step as provided by law, which is after about 14 days, if they still failed to be tax compliant, KADIRS is empowered by the law to take them to Court and if they’re convicted base on the provision of the law a penalty of N1m or imprisonment of nothing less than six months will be meted out to
“Any person who carries on promotional lottery, gaming, casino, sport betting or tombola without making the necessary License Application and obtaining a License thereafter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of at least N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of at least 6 months or both fine and imprisonment,” as contained in the Tax Codification Law, 2020.
We’re also empowered by the general provision of the law to possibly sell out some of their assets to recover the taxes that are due by the companies.
In some of these companies we have close to N500,000,000 (Five hundred million naira) in withholding taxes that these companies failed to pay since 2019 and these companies are not willing to come forward and make with their liabilities. According to his agency’s findings, these companies take out of the state about N2bn (two billion naira) every month and the state is not making the needed amount of revenue on these monies.
The Secretary/ Legal Adviser of KADIRS, Aysha Ahmad Moh’d, said, KADIRS will prosecute all tax offenders in the Gaming business criminally because that’s the provision of the law and KADIRS will not leave any tax offender untouched. She added, if they refuses to come forward to discharge their responsibility towards the state, KADIRS will have no option than to prosecute as provided by the law and there’s penalty for that. The penalty ranges from N50,000 to N10m that the Court can grant on each day that they’re in Court.