FIRS recovers N13bn from billionaire tax defaulters

FIRS recovers N13bn from billionaire tax defaulters

Less than a month after it commenced its substitution of accounts of recalcitrant billionaire taxpayers, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has collected N12.66 billion in tax revenue. Executive chairman, FIRS, Tunde Fowler, disclosed this at the weekend when he received the new minister of finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, during her official visit to Revenue House, FIRS headquarters in Abuja. Fowler spoke as Hajia Zainab Ahmed, the new finance minister commended the agency for shoring-up the non-oil revenue. “The ministry of finance will continue to work collaboratively with FIRS to support all the efforts that you are doing. And as much as possible, we should interface frequently. For us, the directive I have is to increase the tax revenue and that is the most important task ahead of all of us. You have done well. And the reward for good work is more work,” she said.

Ahmed stated, “The FIRS is a very important agency of government. I want to underscore this importance. The FIRS is one of the first agencies in the Ministry of Finance that I am meeting. The Federal Government’s Medium Term Plan is hinged on diversifying the economy away from oil revenues to non-oil revenues. And the report that the executive chairman of the FIRS has presented indicates that the diversification effort is working. This is reflected in the contribution of non-oil revenues over the last three years.

“I am happy that we have a team in the FIRS that is not only expanding the revenue base, but also significantly improving tax collection and taking tax offices closer to the people, and making it easier for the people to pay their taxes by online and e-tax payment procedures that you have undertaken. And I am sure, from what I have heard today, that you would continue with all these processes.”

She added, “I am also glad that you are increasing cooperation with several agencies like the EFCC, ICPC and Nigeria Customs Service. This is important because the directive from the President on anti-corruption involves cooperation within yourselves as well as with anti-corruption agencies. It makes a lot of sense to prioritise tax collection to larger categories, from the big ones to other ones.

“The effort you are doing in Abuja, Lagos and Osun on payment of taxes on property using their turnover as basis for assessment)- is a commendable one and I encourage you to maintain the tempo in generating tax revenues,”she said.

The minister stated that the country needed to continue with the efforts to strengthen the non-oil sector, stating that the part that the FIRS should play was to continue with its efforts so that the non-oil sector would generate larger part of the tax revenue on sustainable basis.

The FIRS chairman also told the minister that the agency realised the sum of N2.983bn from payment on demand notices from property owners, who were being assessed based on their turnover, and that 653 of 2,672 property owners had starting filing now.

From enforcement, Fowler said the FIRS had collected a total of N47.5bn from 2016 till date and $32.8m, £5.9m, netted N225bn from audit, and collected more than N1tn above its January to August collection for last year.

He stated that Value Added Tax receipt was on a steady increase, adding, “So far in 2018, the FIRS has collected N773.49bn in eight months. The above collected this year has already surpassed that of 2015 (N767.33bn), and is set to surpass that of 2016 (N828.19bn) and 2017 (N972.30bn) with four more collection months left in the year.

“E-stamp duties’ collection is on a steady increase. So far in 2018, the FIRS has collected N10.10bn in eight months. The above collected this year has already surpassed that of 2017 (N10.9bn), 2016 (N5.6bn), and 2015 (N7.1bn)”,  said Fowler.

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