COVID-19: FIRS unveils automated tax system to boost revenue collection

The newly appointed Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami. [PHOTO CREDIT: BBC]
The newly appointed Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami. [PHOTO CREDIT: BBC]

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it has unveiled a new automated platform for taxpayers to file transfer pricing declaration and disclosures in Nigeria.

The FIRS said the electronic system would also help block leakages in tax collection, especially the Stamp Duty collected by banks across the country.

With coronavirus pandemic ravaging the global economic system, and the dire consequences for fiscal planning by countries, the tax agency said the new platform will help step up its revenue generation capacity to mitigate the effects of the unforeseen global challenge on the country’s economy.

Unveiling the electronic solution platform on Tuesday in Lagos before bank executives and other interest groups in the tax sector, the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Muhammad Nami, said the Service is deploying the automated platforms “to ensure 100 per cent compliance.”

Mr Nami asked the banks to “get fully prepared for the adoption of the new compliance programme as failure to comply is not an option.”

“The need for total compliance and aggressive revenue drive is imperative now, in view of the recent crash of oil price from $50 to $29 per barrel which will definitely affect our collection from the Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT),” he said.

He said the outbreak of the Coronavirus has resulted in a global economic meltdown, with serious consequences to the Nigerian economy.

To underscore the dire economic situation Nigeria is facing with the Coronavirus pandemic, the FIRS Chairman drew attention to recent reports about the inability of 50 oil cargoes bearing Nigerian oil which were not able to discharge crude oil to buyers due to the virus.

He said the development capable of drastically reducing government revenue target and, subsequently, the provision of infrastructures and social amenities.

“We earnestly need to shore up against the looming economic meltdown. It is on this note that I solicit your cooperation and understanding in the drive to use automation to rev up our revenue so that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari will be able to deliver on its mandate,” Mr Nami said

As part of efforts to explore alternative sources of shoring up revenue collection, the FIRS on Wednesday held a one-day “Stakeholders’ Engagement for the Review of Draft Information Circulars on the 2019 Finance Act” in Lagos.

During the meeting, participants carried out a “joint review of six draft Information Circulars developed by the Service on the implementation of the 20 19 Finance Act, to ensure the quality of the circulars and proper collaboration for the implementation of the Finance Act.”

In his remarks, Mr Nami described the information circulars as “very important tools for clarifying various provisions of the tax law in line with Section 8(1)(t) of the FIRS (Establishment) Act 2007.”

He said the final circulars envisaged from the stakeholders’ inputs “will assist in achieving the objectives of the 2019 Finance Act.”

Some of the objectives include raising revenues to fund public goods and services; promote fiscal equity; reform domestic tax laws to align them with global best practices; introduce productive tax incentives; support micro, small and medium businesses, and to actualize the Ease-of-Doing Business Reforms.

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