Data from the 36 States Internal Revenue Service (SIRS) as at November 2016 shows that 13,034,222 million individuals and enterprises pay taxes regularly.
The executive chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and chairman, Joint Tax Board (JTB), Tunde Fowler, made this disclosure in Abuja yesterday.
He said Lagos State tops the list with 4,088,128 million taxpayers, while Gombe State, the lowest, has 33,000. Breakdown of the data reveals that 8,550,643 million individuals pay taxes as well as 4,483,579 million enterprises.
The FIRS boss gave the details in a presentation entitled: ‘An Appraisal of Collaboration between the Federal Inland Revenue Service and States Internal Revenue Service to the 136th Meeting of the Joint Tax Board’.
Fowler said the 135th meeting of the Board in Abeokuta had agreed to increase the number of taxpayers from the current figure to 20 million in the shortest possible time.
The JTB at the federal level is made up of the FIRS, the Nigerian Customs Service, the Federal Capital Territory Inland Revenue Service, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, and the Nigerian Immigration Service.
Fowler said that given the nation’s political and constitutional arrangement, there was a need for a framework of collaboration among the tax authorities and other agencies involved in the collection of revenue, levies and fees.
He said: “In addressing challenges due to separate and distinct operational areas and tax jurisdictions of the various tax authorities and revenue agencies, building a synergy among them provides a window of intervention towards an efficient and well-knitted tax system. To achieve this main objective, we agreed and decided to pursue it through a strategic collaboration framework.”
According to him, there is currently an ongoing integration of the taxpayers’ databases of four states: Lagos, Imo, Osun and Sokoto with the JTB Taxpayers Identification Number (TIN) platform.
He noted that conducting joint tax audits by FIRS and SIRS had yield positive results that include “reduced cost of administration, enhanced capacity building and sharing of expertise and professional experiences.”
He, however, listed the challenges as lack of regular interaction and engagement between the FIRS state coordinators and the IRS executive chairmen, a situation responsible for slow flow of information between the states and FIRS as well as lack of exchange of information on tax audit planning and programme.