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FIRS targets N8tr revenue in 2019

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has set an N8 trillion revenue target this year, its Executive Chairman Tunde Fowler said yesterday.

Fowler, who spoke in Lagos at the opening of the 2019 FIRS Management and Stakeholders Retreat tagged: “Parliamentary support for effective taxation of the digital economy”, said the Service generated N5.320 trillion for the government last year.

Prior to 2018, the highest revenue figure ever attained by the FIRS was N5.07 trillion, which it generated in 2012. He described the N5.320 trillion generated by the FIRS as remarkable, given that it was achieved at a period when oil prices averaged $70 per barrel compared to the period between 2010 and 2013 when oil price was at an average of $100 to $120 per barrel.

The non-oil component of the N5.320 trillion was N2.467 trillion (53.62 per cent), while oil contributed N2.852 trillion (46.38 per cent). The FIRS collected N212, 792 billion exclusively from audit, a figure that arose from 2,278 cases, and with a huge reduction in audit circle.

Fowler said: “While we have been steadily increasing revenue collection over the years, our cost of collection has actually been going down. In 2016, we collected N3, 307 trillion; in 2017, we collected N4, 027 trillion and in 2018, we collected N5, 320 trillion.

“Meanwhile, the cost of collection as a percentage of actual taxes collected has been reducing. In 2016, it was 2.6 per cent. In 2017, it was 2.49 per cent, while in 2018 it was 2.14 per cent.”

He added that the Service has been working hard to ensure an increase in the amount of non-oil revenue it collects. Non-oil collection, he disclosed, contributed 64.99 per cent in 2016, 62.25 per cent in 2017 and 53.62 per cent last year.

Read also: Forex: CBN makes first intervention in 2019
This, he stated, is indicative of the government’s increasing focus on non-oil revenue sources and diversification of the country’s economy.

He attributed the steady rise in the collection figures to a series of initiatives adopted and implemented by the Service to enhance tax administration and ease tax payment.

Among these is the deployment of ICT initiatives, which enable taxpayers to pay taxes from anywhere in the world and at any time.

The FIRS boss said: “With the e-payment channel, one can pay taxes with the click of a button and one can also download their receipts.

“Other e-Services are the e-Registration, e-Filing, e-Stamp Duty and e-Tax Clearance Certificate. Taxpayers can now also choose the tax office where they would like to conduct their tax transactions.”

Fowler noted that taxpayers are fast embracing modern tax collection methods introduced by the FIRS via the six e-Solutions.

He equally stated that the Service is automating Value Added Tax (VAT) collection to ensure compliance cost reduction.

Fowler said: “We are doing system-to-system integration between banks and the FIRS. And I am happy to announce to you that we had a 31 per cent increase year on year in VAT collection in the banks that have gone live between Jan 2017- Dec 2018 and collected N25 billion so far.

“We are also automating the payment of VAT by states through the State Offices of Accountant General Platform (SAG). This will ensure that we automate and deduct at source and remittance of VAT and withholding tax from state government contract payments directly to FIRS’s account and so far, collected N13 billion.”

He noted that the number of taxpayers that requested for and processed their Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) grew from 9,574 to 59,350 within a year of introducing the platform.

“Auto VAT collection in key sectors has also facilitated reduction in the cost of compliance. Between January, 2017 and December, 2018 VAT collection increased by 31 per cent, which translates to a collection of N25 billion. Overall, in 2018, VAT crossed the N1 trillion mark. Indeed, VAT is the fastest growing tax type in the world and even rich countries that did not depend on taxation have now introduced VAT, like the United Arab Emirates.”

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