Miracle working genius! Fowler’s FIRS records N3.03tn tax in 2016

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Miracle working genius! Fowler’s FIRS records N3.03tn tax in 2016

Miracle working genius! Fowler’s FIRS records N3.03tn tax in 2016
April 11
08:21 2017

In spite of the economic downturn, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) recorded a total tax collection of N3.303 trillion in 2016.

No fewer than 14 million taxpayers were also captured in the national tax roll as at December 2016.
The introduction of its “waiver of interest and penalty” policy, FIRS added, has so far equally raked in N27 billion.
The policy was designed to promote voluntary compliance and shield taxpayers from the burden of carrying forward tax liabilities arising from penalty and interest.

The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, made the disclosures at the opening of a five-day journalism training programme on taxation, sponsored by the FIRS, in Abuja.

Fowler, who was represented at the occasion by the FIRS Director, Debt Management, Mr. Femi Faniyi, noted that in spite of a challenged economy, his agency recorded a
N3.303 trillion collection “in a year when oil prices dropped to less than $50 a barrel for over nine months and when the value of stocks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) slid and purchasing power was slim.
“The average oil price was about $100 per barrel between 2012 and 2015.

“The Service is convinced that with progressive application of technology, persuasion and enforcement on recalcitrant taxpayers, and partnership with key stakeholders like the media, we will collect sufficient revenue for the nation in 2017.”

Fowler noted that in a bid to expand the tax net, his agency commenced a massive nationwide registration exercise of new taxpayers, culminating in the registration of 814,000 additional taxpayers by December 2016.
According to him, 3.4 million taxpayers were also registered by State Internal Revenue Services (SIRSs) as at Decemeber last year.

Fowler put Nigeria’s national tax roll at 14 million as at last December.
The FIRS, he said, successfully implemented a waiver of interest and penalty for three years (2013 to 2015).
The service, by this entirely new idea, Fowler stressed, has so far realised N27 billion.
The FIRS chief executive also pointed out that the ease of tax payment model, which requires taxpayers to file their tax returns at the FIRS offices nearest to them has increased compliance.

This, he stated, eased the burden of taxpayers who have had to travel from far places to pay their taxes.
He listed some other positive results recorded by the agency to include improved collaboration with the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to ensure that the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) remit taxes such as Withholding Tax (WHT), and Value Added Tax (VAT) promptly through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS).

The FIRS boss also alluded to the collaboration with the Joint Tax Board and State Internal Revenue Services on several fronts such as taxpayer enlightenment, tax enforcement and registration of new taxpayers.
Other areas, he listed, included tax education, enlightenment and media campaigns.

In order to engage and sensitise taxpayers, the FIRS, he added, established the Federal Enlightenment and Engagement Tax Teams (FEETT) to engage and enlighten taxpayers nationwide.
Fowler observed that Inter-agency collaborative handshake with other government agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Road Safety Commission, (FRSC), Nigeria Immigration Service and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) was being strengthened.

On information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, FIRS boss stated that the deployment of technology, expansion and deepening of ongoing ICT initiatives became a marked feature of FIRS’ bid to shore up non-oil revenue.

On the training programme for journalists, Fowler said the media had been one of the major stakeholders and partners of the FIRS.

“The media has demonstrated understanding in reporting FIRS’ progress and tax issues in general. You have also been understanding…
“Journalists seek the truth; they hold leaders accountable and together with scholar-activists and change agents, they point the course which societies could chart.

Journalism in Nigeria has a very rich past. Its variant role in Nigeria’s anti-colonial struggle and sacrifice against military rule is a global knowledge.

“In the last two and half decades, journalists exposed the Koko Nuclear Toxic wastes, which compelled Italy to evacuate her cargoes of death from Nigeria and the exposure of the dehumanising work conditions in a Chinese factory in Lagos,” he stated.


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