BY COBHAM NSA, ABUJA – Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Tunde Fowler says the Service captured over N3.3 trillion as tax revenue in the 2016 fiscal year.
He said the feat was achieved despite a challenged economy with the average oil price pecked at about $100 dollars per barrel between 2012 and 2015.
Similarly, Mr Fowler said the country witnessed an improved taxpayers based as the Service hit a National Tax Roll of 14 million mark by December last year. “By December last year, Nigeria has a National Tax Roll of 14 million”, adding that FIRS “successfully implemented a waiver of interest and penalty for three years (2013 to 2015).”
He said the Service’s massive nationwide registration of new tax payers helped to expand tax net with an additional 814,000 taxpayers registered by December 2016 and 3.4 million taxpayers by State Internal Revenue Services (SIRSs).
Speaking at a training on “Accurate and Impact Reporting of Taxation” for financial journalists in Abuja, the FIRS boss said by its new engagement strategy, the FIRS “has so far realized N27 billion”, stressing it was heartwarming the Service achieved the feat at a time oil prices stood at less than $50 a barrel for almost a year with the sliding stocks’ value at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as well as lean purchasing power by the public.
The Chairman said the FIRS achieved its set goals by implementing, “waiver of Interest and penalty as part of efforts to promote voluntary compliance and shield taxpayers from the burden of carrying forward tax liabilities that arose from penalty and interest.”
According to Mr Fowler, represented by Director, Debt Management Department, Mr Olufemi Faniyi, the above average tax revenue figure recorded last year was largely attributed to the ease of tax payment, especially with the arrangement that taxpayers should now file their tax returns at FIRS offices nearest to them.
For him, the innovation has improved compliance and lessen the taxpayers’ burden of having to travel far places just to pay their taxes even as he attributed the enhanced FIRS performance to, “improve collaboration with the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to ensure that MDAs remit taxes such as Withholding Tax (WHT) Value Added Tax (VAT) promptly through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS).”
The Executive Chairman stated that other measures that accounted for FIRS’s remarkable tax revenue drive, include robust partnership with the Joint Tax Board (JTB) and SIRSs on areas of Taxpayer Enlightenment; Tax Education; Tax Enforcement; and registration of new taxpayers among others.
He said as a marked feature of its mandate delivery drive to shore up non-oil revenue collection in the country, the FIRS effectively deployed technology by expanding and deepening ongoing Information Communication Technology (ICT) initiatives.