FIRS may takeover tax revenue collection nationwide – Oyedele

The Federal Inland Revenue Service may be empowered by the federal government to begin collection of all government taxes, if hints by the Chairman, Presidential Fiscal Policy & Tax Reforms Committee, Taiwo Oyedele are anything to go by.

In a chat with Blueprint on the sidelines of the one-day workshop of the Joint Tax Board on ‘Harmonisation & Codification of Taxes at National & Sub-national levels, key to achieving a tax friendly environment in Nigeria”, Oyedele said multiple taxation was making it difficult for the government to optimize tax collection.

A South African Revenue Service report for 2021/22 showed that Africa’s second largest economy raked in over N78.221 trillion as tax revenue compared to a paltry N15.194 trillion by Nigeria.

While citing the challenges of multiple taxation to include: multiplicity of taxes and multiple revenue collection agencies; largely fragmented, rudimentary, and complex tax system adding to business risk; low revenue due to low tax morale and high prevalence of tax evasion; high cost of revenue administration and compliance; lack of effective policy coordination within and across tiers of government; and poor accountability for the utilisation of taxpayer money, the tax expert said the country does not need multiple taxes to collect much revenue, insisting that people who contend with multiple taxes, have a tendency to begin to evade paying their taxes.

To address constraints associated with the situation, there is a need for the government to streamline tax revenue collection. He said that a situation where tax revenue is collected by every Dick and Harry discourages investment and encourages corruption.

He stressed that with 44 different taxes before the National Assembly, it will not make economic sense to do business.

In his address, Chairman Joint Tax Board (JTB) Muhammad Nami noted that for Nigeria to attain optimum tax revenue collection capacity across the Federal, States and Local Government tax authorities, the country must make hard but necessary reforms that would yield long term benefits.

Nami, who is also the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said for progress to be made in taxation, tax authorities must continue to explore and adopt measures and innovative initiatives that will lead to the optimisation of tax revenue for all levels of government.

“As the new administration’s attempt to address the many socioeconomic challenges facing the nation on many fronts, it becomes imperative for all the levers of State to shake-off any lethargic antecedents and focus on the goal of a national resurgence.

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