FIRS eyes N4trn tax revenue from oil firms

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In its bid to meet government’s 2020 revenue target, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on Tuesday said it hopes to rake in about N4 trillion as tax proceeds from the extractive sector of the Nigerian economy.

The Executive Chairmanof FIRS Mr. Muhammad Nami, made the disclosure in Abuja when a team of the Nigerian office of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) called at the Revenue House headquarters of FIRS on a courtesy visit.

The FIRS boss solicited the support of the OECD in stemming the tax evasion schemes of oil majors and multinationals operating in Nigeria through the illegal acts of transfer pricing under which several foreign companies dodged tax in the country and transfered their profit offshore.

In another development, the FIRS and the Federal Fire Service have resolved to work closely with each other in order to protect public property and records from possible fire outbreak.

Both organisations made this commitment on Tuesday when the Comptroller-General (CG) Federal Fire Service, Dr. Liman Alhaji Ibrahim, also paid a courtesy visit to the FIRS headquarters in Abuja.

According to Nami, the FIRS needs capacity-building support, information sharing, data interpretation, usage and related technical synergy with the OECD in order for the Service to meet tax revenue targets in the extractive industry and the newly emergent digital economy.

The FIRS chairman observed that revolution in information and communication technology (ICT) has made physical filing of tax returns obsolete.

Nami further stated that “ICT has also made tax collection more complex, especially in trans-border trade and trans-continental commerce in which big players like Amazon, Google, facebook, Alibaba and other e-commerce corporations do big business around, drive the digital economy and yet countries find it difficult to take due tax from the huge economic activities these online giants engage in. This is more so for developing countries like Nigeria where our people buy luxury goods more and more online while these big online stores don’t pay any tax to us here in Nigeria.”

“The complexity of the digital economy to the tax authorities also extends to the telecommunication and financial sectors, including the emerging trades and the exchange carried out using digital currency,” Nami stressed.

The FIRS helmsman commended the Fire Service for coming to the rescue of the FIRS last year during a fire incident that “occurred in FIRS building in 2019 and the prompt response received from your organisation.”

Nami canvassed closer collaboration between the FIRS and the Fire Service in such areas as routine visits of firemen and women to FIRS offices for drills and related safety education as well as regular inspection, servicing and replacement of anti-fire equipment like fire extinguishers currently installed in FIRS offices nationwide to ensure their working condition. The CG pledged to work with the FIRS to protect the Service’s offices and valuable documents against fire outbreak, saying “we are ready to work with your organisation to give the best fire service support needed.”

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