By Rita Esegine
In a bid to engender transparent and efficient tax administration system that optimises revenue collection and voluntary compliance, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) under the chairmanship of Mr Muhammad Mamman Nami, has re-emphasized its transformative commitment to achieve full automation of tax system in Nigeria.
The Service also noted that its quest for efficient tax administration system that aims at achieving revenue collection optimization, has led to assiduous new initiatives such as a locally developed tax application program, known as TaxPro Max.
Conspicuously stated at a “Training, Enlightenment and Education of Print Media Practitioners on Tax Processes Operations” workshop organised by FIRS in Abuja on Wednesday 16 March, 2022 for online media practitioners, Mr Chimenka Ezeibe, in his presentation, further listed; creation of new department for Data Mining and Intelligence, collaboration with other agencies, securing of big operators (such as Facebook, Goggle, Twitter etc ) in the digital space in the tax net under the SEP Rule, introduction of yearly Financial Act and access to systems and databases of corporate taxpayers, as some of the new initiatives of the Service towards achieving its target.
Furthermore, the Service noted some misconceptions of the general public about FIRS and urged media practitioners to assist its efforts at ensuring the truth is made known to the citizens.
Some of the listed misconceptions as stated by the Service include; “That FIRS collects taxes from taxpayers and thereafter remote to Federal Government, That FIRS makes tax laws, Grants tax incentives and pioneer status to companies, collects all tax types especially Personal Income Taxes, tax is only on basic income.
“Others are; that taxpayers are assessed arbitrarily, taxes collected by FIRS is enough to fund Federal Budget, tax payment should be tied to direct benefits received from government, that the Nigerian tax system is not progressive, that every tax payer pays the amount , tax audit is the same as statutory audit.
“Withholding tax (WHT) is a separate tax type, Not-for-profit organisations do not pay tax, that FIRS collects its 4% of non-oil collections at source and that taxpayers cannot get refund of excess tax paid.”
Also, the Service stated that tax is the way forward for Nigeria as a country to carry out its duties and responsibilities to the citizens, saying that the oil sector presently contributes only a fraction to the monies needed to sustain the country. It noted that FIRS was the biggest contributor to the Federation Account in 2021 as against the past when oil money provided almost 90% fund for running the country.
On their part, the members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm, urged FIRS to canvass for government to judiciously utilize taxpayers money for development project and provision of sustainable social and economic amenities, saying that Nigerians are noncompliance to paying tax because of the zero presence of infrastructure across the country.