‘13.4million Nigerians in tax net’
State tax authorities have added 3, 414, 496 million new taxpayers to the national tax register under six months, bringing the total number of individual taxpayers in the country to 13.4 million, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said yesterday.
Kano State led the new taxpayer roll with about one million taxpayers (944, 376). Lagos followed with 320,000 new taxpayers. Plateau State is third with 296,910, while Kaduna added 235,812 new tax paying men and women within the period.
Zamfara State is fifth on the list of new taxpayers’ table with 136,773.
Chairman Joint Tax Board (JTB), Tunde Fowler, who is also the Executive Chairman, FIRS, disclosed this at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja during the 136th meeting of the board.
Mr. Fowler noted that though the new 3.4 million roll of new taxpayers is cheering news, it is still a far cry of tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio of 30 per cent which is the average in most developed countries.
At the event, the FIRS chairman; the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali (rtd); Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi; Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Mohammed Babandede, who was represented by N. E Graham, discussed how robust inter-agency cooperation could enhance tax compliance and optimise revenue collection.
The Chief Executive Officers of the four agency heads, along with chairmen of the State Boards of Internal Revenue (SBIRs), also came up with fresh ideas on how real-time data sharing, automation of processes and operations by all SBIRs, revenue stakeholders, inter-operability of their databases, could enhance revenue generation and assist Nigeria to bake a bigger revenue cake.
The target of the JTB is to increase the number of individual taxpayers to 20 million by December.
The JTB chairman noted that about 10 states were already sharing Withholding Tax (WHT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) data with the FIRS under the VAT data automation project.
This, he explained, was made possible by deployment of Information Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and installation of requisite software across the states.
Soon, the JTB chairman promised, the Taxpayers Identification Number (TIN) cards would be upgraded to hold robust taxpayer data which all SBIRs, FIRS and authorised stakeholders could query for taxpayer data status.
He announced too that the collaboration between FIRS and the SBIRs was yielding fruits as their teams now conduct joint audits, share information on unremitted taxes and taxpayer education in many states among others.
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