Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler, Thursday, said that the Service would soon commence an audit of taxpayers across the country.
Fowler stated this in Lagos while delivering a keynote address at a stakeholders’ meeting on “Tax Administration and National Revenue”.
The stakeholders’ meeting was aimed at charting the way forward for the country’s tax administration and proffering solutions to the challenges hindering a robust tax regime.
He said that the nationwide audit would ensure improved tax revenue collection, better service delivery to taxpayers and enhanced voluntary compliance, while urging stakeholders to support efforts at repositioning the country’s tax administration system.
Fowler, who is also the Chairman of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), said that the board was determined to improve services to taxpayers at all levels.
According to him, a consolidated Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) database was already in place under the JTB, adding that all tax laws that were not in the interest of the taxpayers were already undergoing a review process.
The FIRS boss added that taxpayers and stakeholders should support tax authorities in the interest of national development.
“The greatest challenge facing any tax administration is achieving and maintaining a high degree of self- assessment and voluntary compliance by taxpayers.
Studies, however, show that the extent to which an economy is able to grow sustainably and develop depends to a large extent on its ability to generate tax revenue to finance its expenditure and the efficiency of tax system. “The questions that arise from these simple statements include how to identify areas of non-compliance; how to measure the level of non-compliance; and how to address non-compliance,’’ Fowler said. He further explained that FIRS had put in place various strategies to curtail non-compliance to improve tax revenue collection on a sustainable basis.
“Well-designed taxpayer services, education programmes, and creative measures can facilitate self-assessment and compliance,’’ Fowler said.
According to him, the major determinants of tax compliance include changes in law, taxpayers’ attitudes to payment of right taxes and tax consultants’ offering the right advice to the taxpaying public.
Reacting to the FIRS chairman’s speech, some of the stakeholders raised concerns regarding the number of taxes and levies being collected and levied by different government agencies, most of which are hardly remitted to appropriate government tax offices .
They however commended FIRS for its effort towards deepening tax administration, but stressed the need for regular interaction among stakeholders so as to improve voluntary tax compliance. Stakeholders at the event included officials from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Labour Unions, Tax Consultants and the Organised Private Sector across the nation.