FIRS

Category: Press Release

N5, 000 Tax Enough To Save A Child From Dying From Malaria, Says Tunde Fowler

N5, 000 Tax Enough To Save A Child From Dying From Malaria, Says Tunde Fowler

CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF TAXATION, GHANA HONOURS FIRS CHAIRMAN

Five thousand Naira, (N5, 000) may seem too little to do a buffet at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja or at Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos. 

But a tax of N5,000 is enough to save the life of a child who has malaria from death, Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mr. Tunde Fowler, has said. 

Fowler observed thus in Accra on Wednesday  as he stated that every kobo contributed by a taxpayer – even as little as N5,000-is enough to stop the death of a child from malaria. 

It was at the Annual Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Ghana, (CITG) where Fowler was also given an award as an Honorary Fellow of CITG for his contributions to the tax institute. 

Fowler, who delivered the lead paper at the Conference” Strategies For Revenue Mobilisation, in Contemporary Times: Challenges in Tax Legislation” said his success in establishing a connect between tax contribution of as little as N5000 and the life of a child who may die from malaria, touched the hearts of some taxpayers in Lagos who turned a new leaf and became compliant taxpayers. 

He told tax practitioners and administrators, from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Cote D’ivoire and other parts of the West African sub-region, that beyond deploying the law, enforcement, technology and mobilization, tax administrators must deploy a medley of psychology, persuasion and being firm to convince their fellow countrymen  to pay tax  and fund their country’s development. 

Said the FIRS Executive Chairman: “When you ask people to pay tax, they ask you: “Why? But when you tell them that a tax of N5000 is enough to safe a child from dying from malaria, their attitude about tax begin to change gradually. As a tax administrator, you have to become a teacher to save the life of a child. 

“The point is that as tax administrators, we must see the work that we do, not just as another job, but as nation building. Tax collection is nation building. It is serving your nation. It is serving God. When you convince a taxpayer that the tax he/she pays could save the life of a child who has malaria from death, you could begin to touch the taxpayer’s heart. 

“We can still do a lot with the laws we have now. Before the law changes, tax administrators, need to wear the hat of a teacher, a psychologist, a friendly person and a firm upholder of the law. 

“I urge all of us stakeholders to be conscious of our roles in ensuring that Africa catches up with the rest of the world in moving away from dependence on resource revenue towards dependence on taxation as the primary source of funding for our development. 

The FIRS Executive Chairman noted that in 2015, South Africa collected $57 billion USD. Nigeria with its oil wealth and population of over 140 million people and about 60 million taxable citizens, collected $27 billion dollars. 

The FIRS chairman noted that it was curious that no member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC—- with all their wealth-is in the league of developed countries. Today, he noted, Venezuellans queue for food. “It can be argued that the extent to which an economyis able to grow sustainably and develops depends to a large extent on its ability to generate tax revenue to finance its expenditure and the efficiency if its tax system. 

Even in Nigeria, Oil, Gas and Mining sector (6.48) is not the biggest contributor to the Gross Domestic Product of $422.59 billion dollars. The sector, he noted, takes the third place after Trade (19.15) and Agriculture (19.0). 

Fowler, who stated that governments fund budget either by levying taxes or borrowing, noted that whatever taxmen do must still be within the ambit of the law. He observed that though it is tasking, itis still possible to collect taxes with existing laws. He, however, still reckoned that obsolete laws and challenging law amendment processes were some of the challenges to tax legislation in Africa. 

He said the situation is not bleak as tax administrators must be innovative, purposeful, dedicated and result oriented. With their conduct, tax administrators could convince legislators and elected office holders of the direction that tax legislation should go. 

Once this is clear and lawmakers and power holders are convinced that tax administrators are pushing for those changes for collective good, changes in tax legislation will not be difficult to advocate. 

Other routes to overcoming tax collection challenges Fowler noted include, collaboration with stakeholders, robust taxpayer education, simplifying tax laws, review of waivers and exemptions, discouragement of impunity and flouting of tax laws. 

“One issue that is clear is that there can be no successful revenue mobilization without a sound tax law regime as a platform for implementing the strategy. Strategies which are implemented without a sound legal footing usually fail or do not stand the test of time”. 

In bestowing Mr Fowler with the Honorary fellow of the Chartered Institute of Tax Administrators, Ghana, CITG’s President NiiAyii  Aryeetey and Secretary, Fred Teeteh, described the FIRS Chairman as having been of “tremendous help to the CITG” in the past years both at FIRS and as Executive Chairman, Lagos Inland Revenue Service, LIRS, for having  “consistently mobilized Nigerian tax experts… who have contributed actively to paper presentations and discussions and helped to enrich our conferences. 

“Those expert opinions on various tax issues” the CITG President noted, have impacted positively on communiques issued after each tax conference. This has gone a long way to shape some tax policies of our country and improved revenue mobilization”. 

“The Governing Council of the CITG is very proud to be closely associated with you. Sir in recognition of your signal service to the Institute, the Governing Council confers on you, Mr. William Babatunde Fowler, Executive Chairman FIRS, and Chairman of the Joint Tax Board, JTB, Nigeria an HONORARY FELLOW of the Chartered Institute of taxation of Ghana. 

Fowler thanked the CITG for honouring him: “We may be separated by borders but Nigerians and Ghanaians are brothers. I thank you for this honour, which I accept on behalf of all Nigerian taxpayers”. 

Signed 
Wahab Gbadamosi 
Head, Communications & Servicom Department​

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FIRS Appoints New Coordinators, Redeploys 5 Directors, 21 Deputy Directors

FIRS Appoints New Coordinators, Redeploys 5 Directors, 21 Deputy Directors

The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler has approved restructuring of the top echelon of the Service.

The latest redeployment which was announced on Monday, January 25th, 2016 affected Five Directors and 21 Deputy Directors. 

The newly appointed State Coordinators are: Andrew Ayabam is Acting State Coordinator, Benue, Kaduna and Niger States; Salihu Baba Alkali, Acting State Coordinator, FCT, Kogi and Nasarawa States; Jimoh I.T.T, Acting State Coordinator, Lagos East, Lagos CGT and Stamp Duty and Sola Akingbade, Acting State Coordinator, Kwara, Ekiti and Ondo States. Bimpe Badmus has been appointed for Special Duty (Financial, Oil and Gas, Multinational and Telecommunication)

The FIRS Chairman said the latest restructuring is aimed at maximizing staff potential by deploying right officers at right places.

In the new structure, the Director of FCT and North Region, Faniyi Olufemi, now heads Tax Policy and Advisory Department. Ohagwa Innocent, who was the Director, South-South and South-East Directorate Department is now Acting State Coordinator, AkwaIbom, Bayelsa and Cross River States. OshigaGbolaga  Olarenwaju who was Director, Lagos Mainland (East and West Directorate) Department moves to Acting State Coordinator, Ogun, Oyo and Osun States. Magam Umaru Mohammed who was the Director, North-West and North-East Regions Directorate Department becomes the Acting State Coordinator, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States while Adeniran Olufunlola Olaitan who was Director, Oil and Gas Department, Lagos moves to the Office of the Coordinating Director, Domestic Tax Group.

Deputy Directors who have been redeployed are: Onu Ikechukwu Nwakama moves to Acting State Coordinator, Ebonyi, Enugu and Abia States; Salami Moshood Adekunle becomes Acting State Coordinator, Lagos Mainland West; Okonkwo Anthony Ikechukwu becomes Acting State Coordinator, Delta, Imo and Anambra States. Ogunjemilusi Gabriel Olaide takes over Acting State Coordinator, Lagos Island; Pam Davou becomes Acting State Coordinator Jigawa, Kano and Katsina States while Alhassan  Yahaya Ahmed is now the Acting State Coordinator, Taraba, Gombe and Adamawa States. Darmasaude Ahmed Madugu becomes the Acting State Coordinator, Yobe, Bachi and Borno States; Obri Francis Ogar moves to the Office of the Coordinating Director, Domestic Tax Group.
Deputy Directors Garba Yusuf and Irri Ode have been deployed to the FIRS Training School in KatsinaCenter while Galadima Saleh Al-Durawa and Adeleye Samuel Taiwo move to the FIRS Training School, Abuja Center. Husaini Zakari Isa and Sambo Yebeya Binuga move to FIRS Training School, Bauchi Centre; Anuya Oghenegueke Friday and Igweh Chukwuemezie Peter move to FIRS Training School, Enugu Centre.

In the same vein, Adewuyi Josiah Afolabi and Ajose Rasak Adebola have been deployed to FIRS Training School Ibadan Centre while Agu Bennett Maduka, Orebajo Temitayo Adeniyi and Fagbemi Emmanuel Ojo have been moved to FIRS Training School, Lagos Centre.

Signed 
Wahab Gbadamosi
Head, Communications & Servicom Department​

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Fowler Pledges Partnership To Shore-Up Tax Revenue

Fowler Pledges Partnership To Shore-Up Tax Revenue

The Acting Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, pledged partnership with the relevant stakeholders to shore-up the tax revenue and improve on the country’s tax administration.

Fowler made this known when he took over the mantle of leadership from the out-going Acting Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr. Sunday Ogungbesan at the Revenue House Abuja.

According to him, the new change of leadership at FIRS is predicated on the resolve of the Presidency to ensure maximum increase in tax revenue as the era of absolute dependency on oil proceeds was over.

Fowler said that the FIRS must take the lead in the tax revenue collection and must be ready to share information and ideas with the States Board of Internal Revenue (SBIR) in order to take tax administration in the country to another level. 

“My vision and mission is neither to alter the existing management organogram structure in FIRS nor lay-off management staff from their duty posts, but to take FIRS as well as the nation’s tax system to an enviable height. 

This we cannot achieve all alone without a robust partnership and collaboration of all stakeholders within and outside the system. We must build a synergy for a healthy exchange of information between FIRS and SBIR.

This synergy will produce the best form of revenue generation in the FIRS and the states in general as well as ensuring that over dependency on oil revenue becomes a thing of the past,” Fowler explained. 

He said that the antidote to the economic mire was for the Service to raise revenue accruing from tax collection to “records high” so that government programme would be well funded. 

Ogungbesan had solicited for more cooperation as FIRS share a similar vision with Fowler saying, “the Chairman needs the support of all staff to succeed in the business of raising revenue and we must not loss sight to satisfy the government.”

Signed 
Nneka Ifekwuna
Assistant Director, Communications & Servicom Department

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Fowler Consults Audit Firms For Increase Revenue

Fowler Consults Audit Firms For Increase Revenue

The newly appointed Acting Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, has embarked on a landmark collaboration with Audit Firms, Charted Accountants, Tax Consultants and other professional Service providers in order to ensure increase in revenue collection.

In the meeting held in Abuja recently, Fowler pointed out that the collaboration between the profession service providers, States Board of Internal Revenue (SBIR) and FIRS will mark a turning point for taxation as well as reduce the reliance on oil for Nigeria.

The meeting focused on the need to harmonise exchange of information across all the revenue authorities as well as ensuring a synchronized auditing of all the various companies in the country.

At the end of their deliberations meeting agreed to share information with members of National Assembly, particularly on tax laws in collaboration with other professional bodies as well as relevant stakeholders.   

They also resolved that FIRS, State Revenue Boards and the various audit firms will carry out joint audits of the various companies to ensure accuracy of the exercise, enhance transparency and drive compliance. These audits will be completed within 30 days and will take cognisance of the various year ends and peak points of activities of the various companies. 

He noted that audit and tax consultants were major stakeholders and that their input into tax administration and revenue generation was crucial in moving the nation away from over reliance on oil revenue.
Fowler also said that the input from the stakeholders was necessary for the expansion of the tax net, information dissemination, building capacity of tax administration as well as sharing information that would help to promote voluntary compliance.

“I appeal to you, irrespective of the fact that we have a duty to advice taxpayers, we equally have obligation to government in ensuring increase in revenue collection. Its time to stop all forms of unwholesome practices in tax related issues because Nigerians need us at this critical time to reposition the country for more resources.

We don’t have all the answers, we need you from both sides to reposition the entire process. All we are asking for is your cooperation to move the nation’s tax system to another level through your support and other stakeholders” he said.

Fowler said that FIRS through partnership and consultations with the relevant stakeholders will shore-up the tax revenue and improve on the country’s tax administration.

Most practitioners who spoke commended FIRS for taking the lead in organizing this meeting and stressed the need for information sharing, observation of the ethical code among stakeholders across levels.

The Former Accountant-General of the Federation and former Chairman Board of Internal Revenue, Mr. Kayode Naiyeju, said that there was the need for continuous consultation and team work because of the complex nature of tax administration.

The Partner Tax Regulatory and People Services of KPMG, Mr. AjibolaOlomola, also appealed to FIRS to grant some form of tax amnesty to deserving taxpayers so as to enhance voluntary compliance and bring potential taxpayers into the tax net.


Signed
Emmanuel Obeta
Director, Communications and SERVICOM Department​

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BREAKING: FIRS Directs Banks To Lift Lien On Tax Defaulters’ Accounts

BREAKING: FIRS Directs Banks To Lift Lien On Tax Defaulters' Accounts

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has written to banks, directing them to lift the lien on tax defaulters’ bank accounts for 30 days.

The directive, which takes immediate effect, was contained in a letter from the Chairman, FIRS, to bank Managing Directors.

The FIRS explained that it issued the directive because of the large number of taxpayers, who have besieged itself offices in their bid to regularize their tax positions and the inconveniences they are going through.

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FIRS, Efcc Partner To Track Tax Defaulters As Vaids Ends

FIRS, Efcc Partner To Track Tax Defaulters As Vaids Ends

Recover N29billion from Withholding Tax/VAT in 5 months
The Management teams of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are to deepen and strengthen their collaboration to track both individuals and organisations who refuse to pay the right taxes.

The partnership will beam searchlights on defaulting taxpayers who also refused to rely on the Federal Government’s tax amnesty programme: Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) to offset their tax liabilities.

Already, the FIRS-EFCC partnership has led to the recovery of the sum N29 billion Withholding Tax from banks and other financial institutions in the country only between November 2017 and March 2018.

At a meeting today at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja, the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Tunde Fowler said Nigeria, just like other countries across the world, is looking inwards to raise the economic base and would not tolerate tax defaulters. The FIRS Executive Chairman was at the EFCC headquarters on a courtesy visit.

Said Fowler: “There are some issues of non-remittance of Withholding Tax, Value Added Tax and Personal Income Tax. The EFCC has shown support before. When tax defaulters are invited to your office (EFCC), we see result. I don’t know how you do it but we see result. Recently, two banks came forward to comply on their own. I think that they must have heard words. We want joint assistance with the EFCC, especially now that VAIDS is over, to make sure that all tax defaulters get the lawful treatment. 

“I want to let every taxable person in Nigeria know that we are ready to deploy all powers within our disposal to ensure that every tax defaulter is punished according to the law”.

The Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, said the EFCC is ready to do more to bring culprits to book.

Magu said: “People are in a hurry to collect taxes but are reluctant to remit them. It is very distressing. We may put a team together to ensure that whatever taxes collected by anybody is remitted and on time. I also want to congratulate you (FIRS) because of the change in the narrative. There is no doubt that there is a real improvement in our tax system. We will collaborate. We had done this in the past when we had a joint training in Kaduna. We will make sure that we do anything you ask us to do as far as it is lawful “, he said.

The EFCC boss urged every Nigerian to join in the fight against corruption, saying everyone has a role to play.

“Everyone has the responsibility to fight corruption. You may not do it the way Magu does his own. the best approach is for us to agree that corruption is bad. I appeal to everyone to fight corruption even at home. Tell the children that corruption is bad”, he said.

Signed
Wahab Gbadamosi
Head, Communications and Servicom Department
Federal Inland Revenue Service​

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We Are Ready To Share Experience

We Are Ready To Share Experience

The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIR) and Chairman of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), Mr. Tunde Fowler has said Nigeria is ready to share experience on taxation with other tax authorities in the West African sub-region.

Fowler made this remark today in Abuja at the 13th General Assembly meeting of the West African Tax Administration Forum (WATAF), where the regional tax body was launched.

The FIRS Chairman noted that the launch of WATAF presented another opportunity for tax authorities in West Africa to forge alliance, re-strategise and work together to raise the West African economy.

“It is poignant to note that we have once again an opportunity to forge alliances and chart a course for our collective good as heads of tax administration in West Africa. This opportunity we must utilise to the best of our abilities”, Fowler said.

He noted that Nigeria has, in the past two years taken the route of increasing the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in facilitating taxpayers’ compliance and has introduced initiatives to improve inter-agency collaboration, all with view to enhancing tax administration and reduce tax revenue leakages. 

“Our efforts in this regard has made an impact and contributed to an increase in the taxpayers roll by an additional 4 million taxpayers (companies and individuals) and an increase of over 700 billion naira (equivalent of 2 Billion US Dollars) in Tax revenues in 2017, above the taxes collected in 2016.

Be assured that Nigeria is willing to share our experience and support any country in the sub-region in implementing any of such e-taxpayers’ service initiatives”, Fowler said.

Fowler said the launch of WATAF was a historical event as WATAF makes its formal entry in to the ranks of similar organisations focused on international collaboration in Tax matters, having attained the statutory requirements spelt out in the WATAF Agreement providing for at least five (5) countries’ ratifications for the Agreement to come in to force and in line with the requirements of the Vienna Convention. 

“This marks a new dawn in the consolidation of our collective aspiration to improve the standard of living of our people through effective mobilisation of available domestic tax revenue. Not only that, now West Africa has a platform for countries to collaborate in tax matters solidly supported by our governments and a Forum to articulate and project the West African perspective in tax administration, in the global tax arena”, Fowler said.

The Commissioner-General of Liberia Revenue Authority, Elfreda Tamba, who until this morning, was the Chairman of WATAF thanked Nigeria for hosting the General Assembly meeting noting that Nigeria had always “stepped in and being the big brother” in WATAF programmes. 

Tamba handed over the chairmanship of WATAF to the Commissioner, Domestic Taxes, Togo, Adoyi Ahmed ESSU-Wavana.

The Executive Secretary of WATAF, Tunde Oladapo said the launch of WATAF represented the coming of age of the organisation and said WATAF will pursue revenue mobilisation in the sub-region as well as peer learning and information and data date sharing among member-countries.

WATAF was created in 2011 and has been committed to the development of the tax administration in West Africa. the theme for the 13th General Assembly is ‘Enhancing the Revenue Potential of West Africa’, a topic created to address taxation in West Africa with the advent of e-commerce, hybrid financial instruments coupled with increased sophistication and ingenuity of the army of tax advisors.

Signed
Wahab Gbadamosi
Head, Communications and Servicom Department​

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Fowler To Ahmed- ‘Tell Your Colleagues To Give Authonomy To State Tax Authorities’

Fowler To Ahmed- 'Tell Your Colleagues To Give Authonomy To State Tax Authorities'

Kwara-IRS increases IGR to N1.5BN monthly, N17 billion in 2016

Chairman of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), Mr. Tunde Fowler yesterday placed a call to the Kwara State Governor, Dr. AbdulFatah Ahmed: ask your colleagues to empower their State Internal Revenue Services (SIRSs) by giving them autonomy.

Autonomy, Fowler said, is the key to professionalism and generation of more revenue. Said Fowler:”The good work that you are doing is evident in the performance of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service, KWIRS. It is good enough for others to follow. We commend the work that KWIRS is doing and agreed amongst ourselves to adopt is as a model. Like I often tell my colleagues, we members of JTB must not disappoint Nigerians.

“I like you to call on other governors, your colleagues in other states who have not taken the bold step to please do and give autonomy to State Internal Revenue Services. Please help us to convey this to them as an ambassador and tell other governors.

“While calling on the members of the JTB to intensify efforts towards meeting our revenue targets, I enjoin the various State Governments to enhance funding of the tax authorities so as to achieve the desired objectives to ask his colleagues to do the same. You may have a vision. But if you don’t have the revenue to drive that vision, it is mere dream.

” I like to commend the efforts of the Executive Governor in transforming the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service. It is on record that the State annual IGR grew from N7.1bn in 2015 to N17.2bn in 2016. I therefore, urge the service not to relent in their efforts and continue to work hard to justify the encouragement received by the State Government.

Fowler, who is also the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS) spoke in Ilorin yesterday, at the opening ceremony 137th Meeting of the JTB, with the theme: “Collaboration amongst tax Authorities: Its Impact on Revenue Generation and Service Delivery to Taxpayers.

Governor Ahmed who declared the meeting open told the 36 Chairmen of the State Internal Revenue Service that KWIRS’ ability to grow Kwara’s annual Internally Generated Revenue from N7.1bn in 2015 to N17.2bn in 2016 is predicated on three key planks: People, Processes and Technology.

He noted that Kwara s IGR moved from N600 million in 2015 prior to autonomy to N1.5 billion monthly, with increase of about N17.4 billion in 2016. “As you are aware the Kwara State government signed the Kwara State Revenue Administration Law No. 6 of 2015 on the 22nd of June, 2015. Ever since the face of revenue administration has witnessed significant changes that started with the complete change of the people, process and technology for the administration of taxes.

The governor who noted that the State has floated the Kwara State Infrastructure Bond (IF-K) into which a percentage of the State’s  IGR will be paid, said that the state wants to ensure that contractors are no longer owed in Kwara State as banks will not fret to give loans to contractors.

But it is no longer business as usual, Governor Ahmed warned. “While we thank all stakeholders for their contribution to the achievements, taxpayers need note that tax payment is a civic responsibility for the development of the state.

He noted that government cannot provide the goods of democracy without citizens playing their part.

To earn continued support of taxpayers, government must demonstrate transparency and dhow what taxes being collected are being used for. It can no longer be business as usual.

“In Kwara State, our government is committed to the support of Kwara State Internal Revenue Service in the pursuit of revenue mobilisation for the strategic development of Kwara State.

“This positive result has encouraged us to go ahead with our plan to plough the revenue back into the development of infrastructure through the introduction of improve provision of social amenities to the people.  I welcome you to the 137th meeting of the JTB in this 50th year of the creation of Kwara State.

The governor noted that tax authorities across the country could benefit from synergy and cross-fertilisation of ideas adding that: “In the 26 years of the operation of the JTB, Kwara State is hosting the meeting for the first time. It is worthy that Kwara State is hosting the meeting at a time when our major reforms of tax collection and management has yielded significant results”.

He said the tax payment was civic responsibilities of the citizenry that must be held but that the government would ensure judicious uses of the collection to improve the welfare of the people.

Singed 

WAHAB GBADAMOSI

Head, Communications &Servicom Department​

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FIRS Nets N27.086b From Tax Waiver Programme

FIRS Nets N27.086b From Tax Waiver Programme

Registers 814, 000 taxpayers in 2016

The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Tunde Fowler, has said that the agency realised the sum of N27.086 billion from the waiver of tax penalty and interest programme.

The FIRS Chairman disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during the House of Representatives Committee on Finance oversight visit to FIRS.

Fowler also said that FIRS registered a total of 814, 000 new taxpayers in 2016, surpassing its target to register 500, 000 new taxpayers by December 31st, 2016.

“The N27.086billionrealised from the programme came from the payment of a minimum of 25 per cent of the principal of outstanding tax liabilities between 2013 and 2015 and continued payment of agreed instalments. More revenue is expected from installmental payments of the principal”, Fowler said.

The FIRS Chief Executive added that the tax agency would continue to work in the direction of bringing more taxpayers into the tax net as that would translate into more revenue for government.

“We implemented a nationwide tax registration drive to bring additional taxpayers into the tax net. We were able to bring in additional 814, 000 taxpayers into the tax net in 2016, exceeding our target of 500, 000 previously unregistered taxpayers. This was achieved through improved collaboration with State Boards of Internal Revenue and other relevant Federal and State government agencies”.

The FIRS Chairman disclosed that 2,735 taxpayers applied under the tax waiver programme. He assured the House Committee that 2017 revenue generation prospect of the agency was bright, adding that FIRS would explore all avenues to give a better performance in 2017.

“The aggregate tax revenue collection for the year 2016 amounted to N3.307 trillion which translates to 79 percent of the government target of N4.200 trillion”, he said.

Last year, FIRS gave a 45-day window, between October 5th to November 24th, 2016 for taxpayers owing tax liabilities inclusive of interest and penalty for three years (2013 to 2015), to come forward and pay a minimum of 25 percent of their actual tax liability and spread the balance while the penalty and interest are waived.  Such taxpayers must present a payment plan on the outstanding tax liabilities that is acceptable to the Service.

The waiver programme, which came after due consultation with relevant stakeholders, was part of the Federal Government’s efforts to reduce the burden of tax liabilities on taxpayers, promote voluntary compliance and shield taxpayers from the burden of carrying forward old tax liabilities accruing from penalty and interest.

The initiative is not only improving the ease of doing business but has also improved voluntary compliance in addition to contributing to financial savings for taxpayers. Access to Tax Clearance Certificates (TCCs) also became easier for taxpayers who keyed into the programme.

Chairman House Committee on Finance, Hon. Babangida Ibrahim said the visit was to enable the Committee understand the challenges the FIRS is grappling with, legislate where necessary and support FIRS to generate enough revenue to the national treasury. 

Before the Committee members departed Revenue House to inspect FIRS new Headquarters building, they asked the FIRS Chairman questions on the nature of FIRS collaboration with State Internal Revenue Authorities, staff strength, areas of challenge and FIRS strategy for 2017 among others.

Signed
Wahab Gbadamosi
Head, Communication and Servicom Department​

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FIRS, Efcc To Launch Anti-Tax Fraud Team

FIRS, Efcc To Launch Anti-Tax Fraud Team

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are putting a new breath to the fight against tax fraud and evasion in Nigeria as the two agencies will soon launch an anti-tax fraud and evasion team.

This collaboration, according to the FIRS Executive Chairman, Tunde Fowler, will ensure Nigeria’s financial security and independence, which he said are key to national development.

Fowler made this known in Abuja today at the opening of International Conference and Capacity Building Workshop on the Use of Beneficial Ownership Information and The Recovery of Assets in Africa. He beckoned on Nigerians and the international community to collaborate in the fight against “any illegality”.

“Corruption is anything illegal. Whether it is money laundering, tax fraud, tax evasion or other illegalities. We must collaborate to fight them. When you are fighting corruption, you are taking back from the corrupt people, what they erroneously think belongs to them. That is why they resist the fight against corruption”, Fowler said. 

The Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, said that FIRS and EFCC have reached terms on the setting up of an anti-tax fraud team.

“We are setting up anti-tax fraud team to deal with tax fraud and evasion. We have discussed with the Chairman of FIRS and very soon, the team will be set up. We will do everything possible to stop all corrupt people.

“I want everybody to be a part of the fight against corruption. We are all together in this fight. Corruption is what is disturbing this country and like the President, Muhammadu Buhari, said, ‘if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us’”, Magu said.

Magu also said that the EFCC has received complaints about corruption on some Nigerian higher institutions and promised that EFCC in collaboration with relevant agencies will soon beam a searchlight on the higher institutions. 

“We have received complaints from Student Union Governments of some higher institutions, complaining of corruption in the institutions. We will soon beam searchlight on the higher institutions. All we want to achieve is to secure the future of our people”, Magu added.

In his presentation on Beneficial Ownership Of Assets:

The Experience of Nigeria in Confronting Tax Evasion, Corruption and Money Laundering, the FIRS Chief Executive said Nigeria, through FIRS, has been able identify and plug some revenue leakages and also position Nigeria for more revenue generation. 

“Nigeria is committed to working with its treaty partners and other international agencies to ensure increased access and exchange of taxpayer information required for effective tax administration. At the domestic level, the FIRS shall continue to provide a forum for inter-agency collaboration to tackle abusive tax practices, by implementing initiatives to optimise tax revenues.

“The FIRS is collating for tax purposes information on ownership of economic landed property, in collaboration with States Land Registry (starting with the FCT and Lagos State) and leading Estate Agency Firms”, he said.

Fowler noted that FIRS has signed Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements (ADTAs) with 13 Countries and also signed up to the OECD/EU Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters Convention (MAC) that has over 130 participating countries.

“Nigeria joined Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Tax Information (GF) in 2011 and has successfully gone through the Phases 1 and 2 Peer reviews.

“Nigeria has also established a functional Exchange of information (EOI) unit in 2012 to oversee an effective system of exchange of tax information with Nigeria tax treaty partners. Nigeria Joined the Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) in 2016 and committed to implement the minimum standards. 

The country, Fowler said, has commenced process to sign the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) for the automatic exchange of financial account information with other Countries”, Fowler added.

He also noted that FIRS has implemented a framework for tax authorities collaboration with other agencies of government to improve access to and exchange of taxpayer information, including information on ownership of assets. 

“Inter-agency collaboration with organisations like Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), State Boards of Internal Revenue (SBIR), Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML, has enabled expeditious and confidential access to information on beneficial ownership as and when required for tax purposes”, Fowler added.

Signed
Wahab Gbadamosi
Head, Communications and Servicom Department
Federal Inland Revenue Service​

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