FIRS generates N5.3 trillion in 2018, highest in Nigeria’s history – Official

FIRS Headquarters
FIRS Headquarters

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on Monday disclosed it collected about N5.320 trillion as revenues in 2018, the highest in the country’s history.

FIRS Chairman, Tunde Fowler, who disclosed this in Lagos at a retreat on “Parliamentary Support for Effective Taxation of the Digital Economy” said its target for 2019 is about N8 trillion.

At the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) in December, the FIRS had said its cumulative revenue collection as at November 2018 stood at about N4.63 trillion.

But, speaking in Lagos, Mr Fowler said the N5.32 trillion collection recorded for the year exceeded the previous highest ever figure of N5.07 trillion generated in 2012.

He said latest revenue haul is significant particularly at a period when crude oil price is averaging about $70 per barrel.

Details of the collections showed non-oil revenue stood at about N2.467 trillion, against oil revenue collection of about N2.85 trillion.

Mr Fowler said the FIRS collected about N212.79 billion from 2,278 cases, with a huge reduction in audit circle.

He said while revenue collection has been increasing steadily over the years, cost of collection has been dropping.

To enhance tax administration and make taxation as easy as possible, the chairman said the FIRS implemented various initiatives, including the deployment of ICT to enable taxpayers to pay taxes from anywhere in the world, at any time.

With the e-payment channel, he said, taxpayers can pay taxes and download their receipts through electronic services as e-Registration, e-Filing, -Stamp Duty and e-Tax Clearance Certificate.

Mr Fowler said the FIRS is automating the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) in key sectors to facilitate reduction in compliance cost in the long term, apart from system to system integration between banks and the Service.

He said VAT collection in the banks increased by about 31 per cent year-on-year between January 2017 and December 2018, with about N25 billion collected so far.

“There is also the Government Information Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), which links FIRS to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation OAGF for real-time exchange of information and data,” he said.

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“We are also automating the payment of VAT by states through the State Offices of Accountant General Platform (SAG) to ensure we deduct at source and remit VAT and withholding tax from State government contract payments directly to FIRS’s account. So far, about 13 billion (naira) has been collected.

He noted that taxpayers that requested for and processed their Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) through the FIRS online portal from the comfort of their homes grew from 9,574 to 59,350 within a year of its introduction.

“Overall, in 2018 VAT collection crossed the N1 trillion mark,” he said.

Under the a tax amnesty programme initiated in 2016, the FIRS Chairman said over 3000 applications for waiver of interest and penalties were attracted, resulting in the payment of over N68 billion out of about N96.2 billion liability established by the exercise.

He said the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) initiated by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the FIRS received over 5,122 applications, resulting in voluntary declarations of over N92 billion, with over N54 billion paid so far by companies.

On how FIRS ascertained whether those companies with banking turnover of N1 billion were tax compliant or not, Mr Fowler said the FIRS wrote to all commercial banks in May 2018, requesting for a list of companies, partnerships and enterprises with a banking turnover of N1 billion and above.

“This activity was aimed at ascertaining those companies that are compliant with the tax laws and those that are not compliant. So far, non-compliant organisations have paid about N21.75 billion.

“Companies that had a Tax Identification Number (TIN) and were paying were 45,261, while those that had a TIN, but were not paying were 40,611 and those without a TIN and who were not paying were 34,504.”

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