FIRS targets 45 million tax base by Q3, 2019

Tunde Fowler, Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has announced the possibility of the agency to increase the country’s tax base by over 100 percent to 45 million before the end of  Q3 2019, a target which would hopefully expand the country’s low tax revenues. Nigeria’s has a low tax base currently put at about 20 million with its tax to GDP one of the world’s lowest at 7 percent, according to official figures.

Fowler speaking at the official flag off of the new National Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Registration System on Monday in Abuja, said that the tax-revenue administration has evolved into a Systematic and deliberate process that is underpinned by the availability of accurate and reliable data and would now help expand the database of the taxpayers He said “The new tax revenue administration system entails deliberate and strategic planning initiatives with the potential for an increase of up to 45 million before the end of the third quarter of 2019”. The chairman explained that the new reality drives the desire by the Joint Tax Board to ensure that the identification of individuals and corporate bodies in Nigeria is achievable adding access to credible and reliable data is essential to ensure that the revenue potentials of the country is maximally harnessed. “The role that data plays in today’s world cannot be overemphasized, and for the revenue potentials of the country to be maximally harnessed, it is also essential to facilitate the ease of doing business and for the nation to achieve its overarching economic objectives in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP)”. “We are confident that the new system will add immense value to tax-revenue administration in the country, not only in terms of processes and procedures, but in terms of efficiency and ensuring a coordinated and systematic approach towards managing revenue generation as well as tax information sharing between and among tax authorities both within and outside the country”, he added.  Fowler speaking further stressed  that the new system also provides lmménse benefits to the taxpayers as it provides consolidated database as well as facilitates ease of compliance and limits the incidence of double taxation and is a prerequisite for a number of transactions such as sale and purchase of immoveable property, registration of vehicles’ applications for plot of land. “While we are yet to take delivery of taxpayer data from some of the organizations such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) via the Nigeria InterBank Settlement System (NIBBS), and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), we believe that today’s ceremony will reinforce the need for us to work together as one to promote the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan of the President”, he said. He noted the achievements made so far said the agency has recorded expansion of the tax base from 10 million to 20 million taxpayers in 2018, as well as growth in the IGR of States by over 46.11% from N800.02 billion in 2016 to 141.16 trillion in 2018 and growth of FIRS collections from N3.30 trillion in 2016 to N5.32 trillion in 2018; with the 2018 total collection of N5.32 trillion being the highest collection ever In the history of the FIRS. In the Tax Administration Section of World Bank ‘Ease of Doing Business’, Nigeria moved up positively by 25 points during the period and it is expected that the country would further move up the rankings by the time the review for 2019 is published. “Today’s event which has brought together all Tax Authorities with a common vision and goal, is poised to change the financial profile of Nigeria and particularly, lay a strong financial foundation to fund government at all tiers beyond aid, grants and borrowing”


Source: Business day