By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
ABUJA—The Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, is to extend the Integrated Tax Administration System, ITAS, initiative to all its offices across the country.
Chairman of the organisation, Mr Babatunde Fowler, disclosed this at the opening of a week-long workshop on taxation, in Abuja, yesterday.
ITAS, which was introduced by the service in key tax offices in 2016, automates all core tax administration processes from registration, filing, audit, to payment by both individual and corporate tax payers.
Mr. Fowler, who was represented the Director, Debt Management Department of the FIRS, Mr Olufemi Faniyi, said the organisation was able to generate N3.303 trillion in 2016, in spite of the down-turn in the economy due to the deployment of technology, among other strategies.
He said: “The deployment of technology, expansion and deepening of ongoing Information Communications Technology initiatives became a marked feature of our bid to shore up non-oil revenue.
“The Service deployed the Integrated Tax Administration System, in key tax offices in 2016. ITAS will be rolled out nationwide in 2017. ITAS is targeted at automating all core tax administration processes.”
On last year’s revenue, he said that the FIRS made “a N3.303 trillion collections in a challenged economy in a year when oil prices dropped less than $50 dollars a barrel for over nine months and when the value of stocks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) slid and purchasing power was slim.”
The chairman added that the FIRS has also introduced an Integrated Stamp Duty Services (ISDS) portal.
The portal, he said would facilitate the online assessment and payment of Stamp Duties by Nigerian taxpayers, as part of the organisation’s commitment to making tax payment easy for the Nigerian public.
Towards attaining the mandate to generate revenues for sustainable development, Mr. Fowler said his office embarked upon a series of strategies to enhance tax revenue in the country.
They include introducing waiver of interest and penalty as part of the efforts of the Service to promote voluntary compliance which generated N27 billion between 2013 And 2015.
His words: “FIRS successfully implemented a waiver of interest and penalty for three years (2013 to 2015). The Service, by this entirely new idea has so far realised N27 billion.
“The result is the registration of 814, 000 additional taxpayers by December 2016 by FIRS and 3.4 million taxpayers by State Internal Revenue Services (SIRSs). By December last year, Nigeria has a National Tax Roll of 14 million.”
He also said that the service has stepped up its collaboration with the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to ensure prompt remittance of tax revenues, especially Withholding Tax and Value Added Tax by government agencies.