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FG Apologises Over Misinformation On Self-Certification Forms

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The Federal Government (FG) has apologised to members of the public, for misinforming them regarding a new directive on Self-Certification forms.

Recall that yesterday (Thursday, September 17, 2020), the FG asked all account holders across financial institutions, including insurance firms, to fill and submit Self-Certification Forms.

Failure to do do, the government threatened to block access to defaulters’ accounts or impose a monetary penalty.

Announcing the new directive, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration released a statement that read: “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.

“Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions is required to complete & submit the form to each one of the institutions. The forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019

“The self-certification form is in 3 categories: Form for Entity, for Controlling Person (Individuals having controlling interest in a legal person, trustee, etc), form for individual.

“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. For more enquiries, visit FIRS’ website.”

This development however resulted in serious debate among members of the public, who argued that considering the the existing Bank Verification Number (BVN), National Identification Number and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in the country, the new directive is useless.

However, in a surprise turn of event, the FG admitted that the released statement was wrong. Hence, it has misinformed the public.

While apologising for the misinformation, the Buhari government said the new directive does not apply to everybody.

According to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), only “reportable persons” are expected to submit the form.

The apology statement read: “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 fulfilment 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.”

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