The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mr. Tunde Fowler has said that the Service, in collaboration with other stakeholders like the Nigeria Police Force, will continue to go after wealthy tax defaulters in 2019.
Fowler, who said this when the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu paid a courtesy visit to the Revenue House in Abuja, also disclosed that the Service had realized the sum of N23 billion for its closer look at the books of over 45, 000 tax defaulters, each of which had over N100 million as turnover in their accounts.
The Service, he said is going after another set of 40, 000 millionaire tax defaulters this year.
He urged the Nigeria Police to help the Service bring the tax defaulters to pay their taxes, saying the agency had identified 45, 000 millionaire tax evaders last year, 2018 and recovered the sum of N23 billion through substitution of their bank accounts.
Fowler commended the Police for its support and collaboration over the years which he said has helped FIRS to achieve its target and requested for more support to enable it recover due taxes from more 40, 000 rich tax evaders in 2019.
He said: “Let me put on record that the Nigeria Police Force has been extremely helpful to FIRS. Without the Police, I doubt that the Service would have been able to achieve what we have achieved. 2018 was a successful year. The FIRS collected a total of N5.320 trillion of tax revenue. This is the highest revenue collection in the history of FIRS.
“In 2016 we collected N3,307 trillion, in 2017 we collected N4,027 trillion and in 2018 we collected N5,320 trillion. Meanwhile, the cost of collection as a percentage of actual taxes collected has been reducing; in 2016 it was 2.6%, in 2017 it was 2.49% while in 2018 it was 2.14%.
“The Service has been making tremendous efforts in also increasing the amount of non-oil revenue it collects. Non-oil collection has contributed 64.99% in 2016, in 2017 it contributed 62.25% and in 2018 it contributed 53.62%. This represents government’s focus on increasing non-oil sources of revenue and the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
Fowler noted that various initiatives were implemented by FIRS to enhance tax administration and make taxation as easy as possible.
He said: “Taxpayers can now also choose the tax office where they would like to conduct their tax transactions. Before now, if one was registered with a particular tax office, one had to conduct all of their tax transactions in that office. However, to make it more convenient for the taxpayer, they can now choose which ever office they wish to conduct their transactions with.