FIRS to sell tax evaders’ property, freeze 6,772 accounts

FIRS to sell tax evaders’ property, freeze 6,772 accounts

- The Federal Inland Revenue Service has said it will commence audit of all taxpayers in Nigeria

- The agency said it will also sell properties belonging to tax defaulters and freeze over 6,000 account

- According to FIRS, the nationwide audit would ensure increased tax revenue collection, improved service delivery to taxpayers and enhanced voluntary compliance

Tunde Fowler, the executive chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), on Thursday, September 6, said that the Service would soon commence the audit of taxpayers across 36 states of the country.

Fowler stated this in Lagos while delivering a keynote address at a stakeholders meeting on “Tax Administration and National Revenue’’.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stakeholders’ meeting was aimed at charting the way forward in the country’s tax administration and the challenges hindering a robust tax regime.

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Fowler said that the nationwide audit would ensure increased tax revenue collection, improved service delivery to taxpayers and enhanced voluntary compliance. He called on stakeholders to support efforts at re-positioning the nation’s tax administration system.

Noting that the government would sell properties built and developed in corporate names across the country on which taxes were not being paid, Fowler said Nigeria still had one of the lowest tax revenue to Gross Domestic Product ratios in the world.

He said the FIRS generated a total of N3.5 trillion from taxes between January and August this year, more than N1 trillion higher than the revenue for the same period of 2017. He added that the board was determined to improve services to taxpayers at all levels.

According to him, a consolidated Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) data base was already in place under the JTB.

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The FIRS chief said that all tax laws that were not in the interest of the taxpayers were already undergoing a review process.

He added that taxpayers and stakeholders should support tax authorities in the interest of national development.

“The greatest challenge for any tax administration is achieving and maintaining a high degree of self-assessment and voluntary compliance by taxpayers.

“Studies, however, show that the extent to which an economy is able to grow sustainably and develop depends to a large extent on its ability to generate tax revenue to finance its expenditure and the efficiency of its tax system.

“The questions that arise from these simple statements include how to identify areas of non-compliance; how to measure the level of non-compliance; and how to address non-compliance,’’ Fowler said.

The tax expert explained that FIRS had put in place various strategies to curtail non-compliance to improve tax revenue collection on a sustainable basis.

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“Well-designed taxpayer services, education programmes, and creative measures can facilitate self-assessment and compliance,’’ Fowler said.

He noted that the major determinant of tax compliance included changes in law, taxpayers’ attitudes to payment of right taxes and tax consultants’ offering the right advice to the taxpaying public.

While reacting to the chairman’s speech, some of the stakeholders raised concerns regarding the number of taxes and levies being collected and levied by different government agencies, which were mostly not remitted completely.

They commended FIRS for its effort towards deepening tax administration, but stressed the need for regular interaction among stakeholders so as to improve voluntary tax compliance.

Stakeholders at the event included officials from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Labour Unions, Tax Consultants and the Organised Private Sector across the nation.

Meanwhile, previously reported that the FIRS said said it achieved N4 trillion as tax revenue collection in 2017.

Fowler said the agency recorded N3.3 trillion as revenue collection in 2016.

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