By Babajide Komolafe
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said it hopes to increase its tax collection to N5.6 trillion this year, even as it commenced moves to introduce redesigned tax forms.
Acting Executive Chairman of the Service, Alhaji Kabir M. Mashi disclosed this yesterday in Lagos at a stakeholder’s workshop to review the redesigned tax returns forms. “I wish to place on record that FIRS collected over five trillion naira (N5 trillion) last year with your support and is focused to achieve the 2013 target of N5.6 trillion naira in support of the noble objectives of government”, he said.
Represented by the Director, Non-Tax Programed, Ms. Chiaka Okoye, he said that the redesigned tax returns form is part of efforts of the Service to meet this target and possibly surpass it. The Redesigned Tax Form, he said, is in response to the challenges faced by the Service in its quest to perform its statutory functions, which are: to assess, collect and account for the following taxes collected; companies’ income tax; petroleum profit tax; value added tax; tertiary education tax; National Information Development Levy.”
The challenges to carrying out these responsibilities he said ranges from: Tax leakages associated with cheque conversion/diversions of various magnitudes in early 2004; conspicuous inefficiencies in tax service delivery process; global challenges of ICT penetration; the need for capacity building.
“The challenges are so enormous to the extent that tax compliance was not only affected badly but the integrity of the entire tax administration system was almost lost. FIRS had to deal with these challenges one after the other to guarantee a sustainable level of revenue for government to enable her provide essential services to the public.
“One of the sure ways to address these challenges was partly through automation, capacity building and awareness creation. We started this by initiating Project FACT. The Project FACT which is a Bank payment solution was implemented to secure government revenue from all sources of leakages. Payment process became transparent and more efficient as taxpayers can pay in one environment and view the payment anywhere.
“The payment solution was just one out of several processes that FIRS introduced. Businesses processes were re-engineered to achieve a standardisation required for automation. The re-engineering efforts translated into defining requirements to select an off-the-shelf tax administration solution.
A procurement process through the adoption of international competitive bidding process was initiated and a Standard Integrated Government Tax Administration (SIGTAS) Solution was selected and approved by Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“Thus, the ITAS project – to implement the SIGTAS solution (automation of the entire tax administration processes). The ITAS implementation is on the verge of completion. However, we cannot conclude the implementation without bringing our stakeholders together, to inform them of what to expect as we have re-engineered the processes, and introduced new forms.”http://www.vanguardngr.com