FIRS widens VAT collection with digital capturing of informal traders

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) , is widening scope of its Value Added Tax ( VAT) collection with  implementation of the Integrated Market Revenue Management System (IMRMS).

Commencement of implementation of  IMRMS,   a purpose-built digital platform geared towards capturing  the informal sector, especially market traders in the federal government’s tax net, took place in on Thursday at Johnwood Hotel.

The FIRS is partnering with Market Traders Association of Nigeria (MATAN), the umbrella body for all trading associations in Nigeria, to collect and remit Value Added Tax (VAT) from traders in marketplace, using the IMRMS platform.

The collaboration is known as the VAT Direct Initiative (VDI),   which is part of a push to widen the government’s tax base.

MATAN is the largest player in Nigeria’s market space with a membership of well over 40 million traders across the country.

Under the arrangement, MATAN is expected to digitally enumerates its members, give them a digital identity and track their turnover so that VAT accrued is collected and remitted to the FIRS.

Through this initiative, the FIRS will help tackle multiple taxation in the marketplace through partnership with security agencies to curb the activities of touts, miscreants and self-imposed tax collectors involved in illegal tax collection in Nigeria’s market spaces.

Speaking at an official commencement of traders enumeration exercise in Abuja, Mr Adebayo Adefeogbe, a director in the FIRS, said the initiative would grant the government coordinated access to almost 70 per cent untax revenue in the informal sector.

He said collecting VAT from over 40 million traders would enable the government to provide basic amenities in marketplaces across the country.

Moses Ige, MATAN National Coordinator of Incentives, urged market leaders who were present at the event, to sensitise members of various market associations to ensure that they are captured for the VAT Direct Initiative (VDI).

He listed the benefits of VAT Direct Initiative for registered traders to include health insurance, micro pension, general insurance cover, low-interest and non-collaterised business loans and grants, provision of provision of social amenities in marketplaces and free legal services.