Exploring Challenges Faced by Internal Revenue Services in State Tax Collections.

Transforming the Internal Revenue Service | Cato Institute


Effective tax collection is the backbone of sustainable fiscal growth for state governments in Nigeria. The responsibility for tax collection lies with the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) of each state. However, several challenges hinder the optimal performance of state IRSs in revenue generation. In this article, we will explore the challenges faced by Internal Revenue Services in state tax collections in Nigeria, shedding light on the factors affecting tax revenue and proposing potential solutions to address these issues.

  • Tax Evasion and Avoidance:

Tax evasion and avoidance remain significant challenges in Nigeria, depriving state governments of substantial revenue. Some taxpayers intentionally underreport their income or engage in fraudulent activities to evade taxes. Others exploit loopholes in tax laws to legally avoid paying their fair share.

To address this challenge, state IRSs must strengthen their enforcement mechanisms and leverage technology to detect tax evasion patterns. Proactive data analytics and artificial intelligence can identify non-compliant taxpayers and facilitate targeted enforcement actions.

  • Informal Economy:

The prevalence of the informal economy poses a unique challenge for tax collections. Many businesses and individuals operate in the informal sector, making it difficult for state IRSs to track their income and ensure tax compliance.

States can address this challenge by promoting formalization through incentives, simplified registration processes, and taxpayer education. Engaging with informal sector stakeholders and highlighting the benefits of formalization can encourage voluntary compliance.

  • Inadequate Taxpayer Education:

A lack of taxpayer education and awareness hinders compliance among taxpayers. Many individuals and businesses are unaware of their tax obligations, leading to unintentional non-compliance.

State IRSs should invest in comprehensive taxpayer education programs, including online campaigns, workshops, and outreach events. Educating taxpayers about their rights, responsibilities, and the benefits of paying taxes can foster a culture of voluntary compliance.

  • Outdated Tax Administration Systems:

Some state IRSs still rely on outdated tax administration systems, leading to inefficiencies and delays in tax collection processes. Manual procedures and paperwork contribute to the slow pace of revenue generation.

States must invest in modernizing their tax administration systems, including the adoption of digital tax payment platforms, centralized databases, and automation of tax processes. A seamless and user-friendly system can improve efficiency and taxpayer experience.

  • Taxpayer Disputes and Litigations:

Disputes and litigations between taxpayers and state IRSs can delay tax collections and drain resources. Prolonged legal battles result in delayed revenue inflow and administrative burden.

To address this challenge, states should establish robust dispute resolution mechanisms, including mediation and arbitration, to resolve tax-related conflicts efficiently. Clear communication and transparency in tax assessments can also reduce the likelihood of disputes.

  • Economic Fluctuations and Resource Dependency:

States heavily reliant on specific economic sectors, such as oil and gas, are vulnerable to economic fluctuations. Resource dependency affects revenue stability and poses challenges during economic downturns.

To mitigate this risk, states must diversify their revenue sources by exploring untapped sectors and promoting investment in various industries. Economic diversification will provide stability to tax revenue during economic uncertainties.


The challenges faced by Internal Revenue Services in state tax collections in Nigeria demand strategic and proactive measures. Tax evasion, the informal economy, inadequate taxpayer education, outdated tax administration systems, disputes, and resource dependency are among the key obstacles that require immediate attention.

By adopting innovative solutions, leveraging technology, and promoting taxpayer education, state IRSs can overcome these challenges and enhance tax collections. Building a robust tax collection infrastructure, enhancing transparency, and establishing effective enforcement mechanisms will contribute to sustainable fiscal growth and development for Nigerian states.

Collaboration between state governments, tax professionals, and other stakeholders is vital to develop comprehensive strategies to address the challenges faced by state IRSs and pave the way for a more prosperous fiscal landscape in Nigeria.

For professional advice on Accountancy, Transfer Pricing, Tax, Assurance, Outsourcing, online accounting support, Company Registration, and CAC matters, please contact Sunmola David & CO (Chartered Accountants & Tax Practitioners) at Lagos, Ogun state Nigeria offices, www.sunmoladavid.com. You can also reach us via WhatsApp at +2348038460036.