KPMG Nigeria has urged Nigerians to prepare for higher taxes as the government continues to grapple with dwindling price of oil in the international market and the devaluation of the naira, explaining that Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and other revenue generating agencies in various states of the federation would be forced into more aggressive drive to raise revenue due to the drop in Nigeria’s foreign reserves and the devalued currency.
Speaking at KPMG’s breakfast meeting on tax, Victor Onyenkpa, partner and head, tax, regulatory and people services, said : “Don’t be too surprised if work on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is stopped, the reason would be that you can’t afford to finance it. So, if you put all these things together, it means aggressive tax drive. We are in the era of very aggressive tax drive. I make no mistake about it, it is even going to get worse than what you might have seen so far.”
Onyenkpa also said the FIRS taskforce, which has been going around major cities in the country enforcing tax payments by defaulting firms, will become more aggressive as government revenue continue to take hits due to the devalued naira.
He warned firms currently erring on their tax returns to quickly adhere to the law as they will soon come under serious scrutiny from the FIRS and other relevant agencies, saying “the focus of the task forces is on companies that are not compliant, so if you haven’t filed your returns, they are going to pay you a visit soon.
“So, the first step is to be compliant. By being compliant, you take yourself off their radar. That is extremely important. We also think that as a tax payer, you have to know your right under the law. You also need to engage professionals that can march the FIRS officials when they take you on.”
The firm also announced at the event that it was ready to organise more training to equip participants with the requisite knowledge and skills to effectively and legally manage issues around corporate, transaction and petroleum profits taxes as well as manage tax audits and understand the overall Nigerian tax administration system, among other things.