Assessing the FIRS Tax Reform

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Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, is one of the establishments charged primarily with the responsibility of accessing, collecting and accounting for the various taxes to the federal government.

Tax paid by the citizens and businesses are used to meet budgetary demands to finance public projects and make the business environment conducive for economic growth.

In consonance with the belief by experts that the way to grow the economy is taxation, FIRS had embarked on series of reforms to achieve the aim.

Hence, the service generated revenue from below two trillion naira per annum in 2015 to three trillion naira in 2016, four trillion naira in 2019 and five point three trillion naira in 2018.

Analysts say the recent figure is more than half of 2019 federal budget.

No wonder the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, Mr. Modibbo Tukur applauded FIRS for revolutionalising tax administration in the country.

For instance, up to forty-five million taxpayers have been brought into the federal tax net with the introduction of Tax Identification Number, TIN.

Also, the comprehensive audit exercise embarked upon to verify major organisations self-assessment claims was described by tax experts as a step in the right direction.

Apart from the aforementioned, the service made good its words by going after tax defaulters with huge funds in Nigerian banks through a process known as tax substitution or tax recovery through third parties.

As commendable as these measures are the ultimate is to ensure that the benefits cascade to the general populace.

Situations where individuals provide themselves with essential services and infrastructure such as water, electricity, good roads and healthcare should no longer arise.

Hence, proceeds from tax should be properly guarded by relevant agencies and invested in key projects that will make life more meaningful for the citizens.

When people begin to enjoy the dividends of governance, it boosts confidence in the tax process and encourages more compliance.

At this juncture, investment in data management support structures is needful for proper monitoring of the whole process.

There should also be continuous enlightenment for tax payers and collaboration with relevant stakeholders to sustain the process.

Anthonia Akanji

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