FIRS goes after tax evaders

The Federal Inland Revenue Service has revealed that it would be focusing on recovering taxes owed by airlines, banks and communication companies this quarter of the year.

This was disclosed by the service’s Executive Chairman, Tunde Fowler, Thursday, July 14 in an interview with NAN at the National Revenue Retreat, organized by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

He said the service’s aim was to reduce and eliminate tax debts.

“At the beginning of the year, FIRS projected N4.9 trillion, while the 2016 budget projected N4.2 trillion. Till date, we have achieved 73 per cent of the approved budget.

“We still have a number of companies that are yet to pay their taxes and so we will start the process of enforcement.

“There are currently five major sectors that are not as tax compliant as they should be.

“These are the sectors we are going to focus on this quarter. These are telecommunications, aviation, multinational corporations, financial institutions and power,” he said.

Fowler also said the service has uncovered 700,000 active companies that have never paid tax into its database.

“Yes we should be able to generate more revenue if we employ more tax officers, but bear it in mind that taxation is a complex process and we cannot just bring in tax officers. They have to be trained.

“Yes the area of taxation is not rocket science but there is a level of training that they require for them to interact with tax payers. And so new staff require a lot of training before they can be put on the field.

“But in the meantime, we have engaged some consultants to add to our manpower, to increase transparency and ensure that we can do our audits timely,” he said.

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