By Isaac Anumihe
Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) yesterday said that it collected N3.303 trillion tax revenue in 2016, despite the challenging economy.
Its Chairman, Mr. Tunde Fowler, who spoke through a Deputy Director, Ms Nneka Ifekwuna, in Lagos, said that FIRS was able to make haul 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, he said, was about $100 per barrel between 2012 and 2015.
Following the successful implementation of a waiver of interest and penalty for three years (2013 to 2015), the Executive Chairman said that it has so far realised N27 billion, adding that it registered 814,000 additional taxpayers by December 2016 and 3.4 million taxpayers by State Internal Revenue Services (SIRSs).
To ensure ease of tax payment, he said the service asked taxpayers to file their tax returns at the FIRS offices nearest to them.
“This novel idea has increased compliance as it eased the burden of taxpayers who have had to travel from far places to pay their taxes,” he said, stating that FIRS has improved collaboration with the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to ensure that 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).
“GIFMIS is an IT-based system for budget management and accounting used to improve public expenditure management processes, enhance greater accountability and transparency across MDAs,” he said.
In the same vein, he said the collaborative handshake with other government agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), the Nigerian Immigration Service and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is being strengthened.
Fowler also stated that it has initiated plans to deploy technology, expand and deepen ICT initiatives to shore up non-oil revenue.
“To engage and sensitise taxpayers, the FIRS established the Federal Enlightenment and Engagement Tax Teams (FEETT) to engage and enlighten taxpayers nationwide.” he said.