…Okays 814,000 New Taxpayers
BY NSA COBHAM (ABUJA)
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) realised a princely sum of over N3.307 trillion as aggregate tax revenue collection for 2016, with about N27.086 billion coming from waivers of tax penalty and interest programme.
According to the Executive Chairman of FIRS Chairman, Mr Tunde Fowler said the amount represents over 79 percent of the government target of N4.200 trillion for the year under review even as the N27.086 billion came from the payment of a minimum 25 per cent outstanding tax liabilities principal between 2013 and 2015 as well as continuous payment of agreed installments by the affected companies and individuals.
Addressing members of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance on oversight function visit to the Service in Abuja on Tuesday, Mr Fowler said more revenue is still being expected from payments on installment basis of the principal.
He said about 2,735 taxpayers applied under the tax waiver regime, and the FIRS’ 2017 revenue generation prospects looks bright with deliberate plans by the Service to explore all avenues towards better revenue generation performance this year.
Mr Fowler explained that the FIRS offered a 45-day window from October 5 to November 24,2016 for taxpayers owing tax liabilities inclusive of interest and penalty for three years (2013 to 2015) to offset a minimum of 25 percent of their actual tax liability while spreading the balance with the penalty and interest waived.
The FIRS boss said the arrangement was for such taxpayers to present a payment plan on the outstanding tax liabilities that is acceptable to the Service, noting that 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.
For FIRS, 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.
Fowler also informed the House Committee members that a total of 814,000 new taxpayers came on stream the FIRS register in 2016, a figure that surpassed its target of registering about 500,000 new taxpayers by December 2016 ending. Mr Fowler assured the Committee that the FIRS would not relent in bringing more taxpayers into the tax net with the aim of generating more revenue for government.
In his remarks. Chairman House Committee on Finance, Hon. Babangida Ibrahim said the visit would enable members to appreciate the challenges faced by FIRS and legislate where necessary in support of the Service revenue generation capacity.
A statement signed by Head, Communications and Servicom Department of FIRS, Wahab Gbadamosi said the Committee members aside from inspecting the Service new Headquarters building, sought explanations on the nature of FIRS’ collaboration with States IRS, their staff strength, areas of challenge and strategic agenda for 2017 among others.
FIRS Generates N3.307 trillion Revenue in 2016
…Okays 814,000 New Taxpayers