An exclusive revelation by Reuters shows that the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS has uncovered over 700K firms registered in have never paid tax.
Babatunde Fowler, the Chairman of the FIRS also confirmed to Reuters that over 10 million individuals who have never paid tax will also be discovered before the end of the year. He affirmed that any one discovered on the list will be made to pay tax to the government.
As to how the FIRS came about the discovery, he revealed that the agency has since set up a special tech unit armed with laptops and special software to update the agency’s database.
He said “We have been able to add about 700,000 companies and we expect to add about 10 million individuals across the nation (by December). From our estimates, we expect that we have 60 million individuals who should pay some form or level of tax”.
In concrete terms, Fowler explained how they will make defaulters pay saying:
“We will give them a 45-day window to come forward and register and that will make them eligible for that waiver,” said Fowler of the proposal, which was submitted to the finance minister this week to check she was in agreement even though FIRS has the legal authority to enforce the change.”
He added that “A lot of people who are not in the tax net are a bit jittery or afraid to come and register thinking that we might go back two or three years and the amounts might be considerable”.
The agency is also making progress but an unimpressed Fowler said “We collected a little over 2.3 trillion, so far – from January to 31 August. It is almost at par with last year but take into consideration that the economy is going through a little slowdown”.
Nigeria is planning to financing its NGN6.06 trillion (USD18.6 billion) budget, the largest ever. The dearth of oil revenue has shattered the government’s plan to realise its spending plan.