The Assemblies of God Church, Nigeria, has described as embarrassing the listing of the Church by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, as one of the tax defaulting companies.
It was gathered that the Government revenue agency had listed the church alongside 19,901 other accounts that were yet to regularise their tax status.
A statement it posted to that effect had read: “This is to notify all Companies, which had their Bank Accounts placed under Lien by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) pursuant to Section 31 of the FIRS Act, but are yet to regularise their tax status with the FIRS, that if they fail, refuse or neglect to pay the tax due within 30 days of this Notice, the FIRS shall in accordance with Section 49 (2) (a- d) of the FIRS Act proceed and enforce the payment of the said tax against all the Directors, Managers, Secretaries and every other person concerned in the management of the Companies and recover the said tax from such persons without further notice.”
Reacting on Thursday through a statement in Enugu by its General Secretary Rev Dr. Godwin Amaowoh, Assemblies of God Church said its listing among the category of tax defaulters was a height of official recklessness.
While describing the development as an act fueled by ignorance, the Church demanded the immediate retraction of the said publication.
“We received with bewilderment and embarrassment publications classifying the Assemblies of God Church, Nigeria among tax defaulting companies.
“It came to us with huge surprise considering that at no time had religious organizations been taxable in Nigeria, and how the Assemblies of God Church, Nigeria, now became an exception beats our imagination.
“It is either the person who did this categorization and fueled the publications in some online media outfits did so out of ignorance or it was an act of mischief. We say ignorance in the sense that the person who listed the Assemblies of God into a list of defaulters may need to be taught that Churches are not taxable, or mischief as the person may have chosen to deliberately embarrass the Church.
“Either way, we demand that for whatever intent and purpose, the said misleading and embarrassing publication should be retracted by the FIRS.
“The Assemblies of God is a law-abiding Church and would not allow its name to be dragged into an act of lawlessness and disobedience to the extant laws of the land.
“For the avoidance of doubts, The Assemblies of God Nigeria as Registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission is a non-profit making Organization and the Law respects That”
“While we await the FIRS to do the needful in this regard, we urge all our members to remain calm as there is no cause for alarm,” he said.