Churches must be prepared to pay tax from their businesses, says FRCN
The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) has called on the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to delist churches that are not prepared to pay tax from their business ventures.
The Chief Executive Officer of the council, Mr Jim Obazee, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said that the call became necessary in order to ensure accountability and probity in the financial activities of religious bodies especially churches and other non-profit ogranisations.
“Religious organisations are the ones saying they are not bringing their audited accounts. But they don’t really have a very strong platform to stand on. We will do one more workshop to educate them.
“And then we call on Corporate Affairs Commission to start delisting them. They are registered with Corporate Affairs Commission.
“If they are registered with CAC under part C as non- profit organisation and they refuse to be accountable – because when they do their registration, they put within the registration documents they gave to CAC that they will be holding Annual General Meeting and presenting to their members audited financial statements – and we lay this before the CAC, they will delist them.
“And once they delist them, they seize to be non-profit and they become with profit. So every of their collection will now be subject to tax.“
Obazee said that the council was planning a roundtable with the leadership of churches and other non-profit organisations over the new accounting standards the council had earlier introduced to them.
“Who are those that render accounts? Any entity, who collects money, whether you are taking money from the bank or you are taking money from investors, you have to render stewardship.
“That is our major challenge with the churches. We are insisting that non-profit organisations should prepare accounts and send to us and churches are in court fighting us.
“So we are wondering why people who ordinarily talk about giving your account, teaching you how to account to God, how you run your life are refusing to account to stakeholders on how they manage funds that are received from people who believe in the objectives that they are pursuing.
“Government business is to protect its citizens and citizens are the ones putting its money in all these not for profit.
“So we want to know; how accountable are they? and if they pursue non-charitable activities like running schools, hospitals, airlines and all of that, we want them to account for those ones separately as profit-making entities.“
Obazee said that henceforth, religious bodies would be expected to submit to the council their statement of financial position, statement of income and expenditure, statement of changes in net assets and statement of cash flows.