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Published On: Fri, Aug 7th, 2015

FIRS Moves to Alleviate Drop in Government Revenue

Sunday Ogungbesan

Sunday Ogungbesan

LAGOS AUGUST 8TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), an Agency saddle with the responsibility of generating revenue for the Federal Government of Nigeria with the mandate to assess, collect and account for all taxes accrueable to the Federation has mapped out strategies of which to alleviate the drop in revenue as a result of the recent global fall in oil prices.
Addressing journalists in Lagos yesterday, Acting Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Sunday Ogungbesan disclosed that the Agency has started implementing various initiatives aimed at mitigating the drop in Government revenue occasioned by fall in global oil prices.
He said the initiatives are structured along the broad areas of automation, process improvement and capacity building.

According to him, the reform which involve the introduction of Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) is a mechanism which automate core tax administration processes and enables online interface between FIRS and taxpayers, adding that the Agency had registered and issued Tax Identification Number to about 1,189,722corporate and individual taxpayers as at July, 2015.
Ogungbesan revealed that the Agency introduced automated system for tracking and remittance of Value Added Tax (VAT) from key sectors, online electronic system of tax payment which enables online payment and monitoring in real-time and E-filing system which allows electronic filing of tax returns and accompanying documentation.
He maintained that FIRS is equally collaboration with Office of the Accountant- General of the Federation to ensure source deduction and remittance of taxes from Government contracts and of employees emoluments through GIFMIS and IPPIS.
“Other areas of reforms are Automation of the statutory reporting process from Banks to FIRS Process Improvement, improved engagement with Central Bank, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and other relevant agencies to improve collaboration
“Re-organization and streamlining of existing functions to promote professionalism and effective linkage between core tax and support functions which include strengthening of audit functions nationwide through regionalization and deployment of core tax professionals to oversee audit functions.Strengthening of taxpayer service and enforcement functions to bring tax administration closer to taxpayers and also improve voluntary compliance.
“On-going collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance and Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission to streamline tax incentives and eliminate misuse. Review of tax legislation and tax rulings along with issuance of regulations to provide clarity on interpretation and application of tax laws,” he explained.
The FIRS Boss disclosed that the Agency has embarked on the implementation of a comprehensive Capacity Enhancement Programme aimed at building the capacity and capability of staff in key tax administration processes like audit, filing and debt management, improved training of staff to enhance professionalism, training of specialized unit to handle Transfer Pricing and improved access to capacity building opportunities from regional and international organizations such as African Tax Administration Forum, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.
Stressing on the importance of automation, he said the on-going automation of core tax processes will improve compliance and impact overall collection.
He equally pointed out that continuous strengthening and specialization of audit function will improve audit cycle turn around and tax recovery, just as strengthening of debt management function will reduce tax arrears and eliminate new debts.
“Improve collaboration with OAGF, CBN and others will eliminate MDA tax debts, provide better access to taxpayer information and improve compliance. Staff capacity enhancement will bring greater professionalism to tax administration, improve taxpayer confidence in the system and enhance voluntary compliance. Prompt amendment of tax laws to simplify tax administration and bring clarity and certainty to application of tax laws,” he stated.

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