The Federal Inland Revenue Service exceeded its 2016 tax revenue collection by 20%. Taxes collected by the body thus increased from N3.3 trillion in 2016 to N4.0 trillion in 2017. Executive Secretary of the FIRS, Babatunde Fowler revealed this during a visit to the Oba of Lagos Rilwan Akiolu.
2018 revenues will be much higher
2018 revenues could end up being much higher as the Ministry of Finance last year launched the Voluntary Asset Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS). Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) is a time-limited opportunity for taxpayers to regularize their tax status relating to previous tax periods and pay any taxes due.
In exchange for fully and honestly declaring previously undisclosed assets and income, tax payers will benefit from forgiveness of overdue interest and penalties, and the assurance they do not face criminal prosecution for tax offences or tax investigations.
Why the revenue drive ?
Last year was a difficult one for the Federal Government, and indeed all tiers of government as a whole, as crude oil revenue dropped drastically. Government is largely dependent on crude oil earnings to fund its budget, and foreign exchange revenue.
The drop in earnings pushed the economy into a recession last year. In addition, states and local government had to be bailed out by the Federal Government.
The FIRS in collaboration with state revenue services recently recovered billions of Naira being unremitted witholding taxes from several commercial banks in the country.
About the FIRS
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) started as part of a colonial tax organisation under the name Inland Revenue Department of Anglophone West Africa. The department’s scope of administration covered Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and the Gambia. In 1943, the Nigerian Inland Revenue Department was carved out of the Inland Revenue Department of Anglophone West Africa and established as an autonomous body under the supervision of the Commissioner of Income Tax.