By Jessica Osagiede
FIRS urges Nigerians to Voluntarily pay their taxes
FIRS holds a 3 day Training, Enlightenment and Education program for Electronic Media Practitioners on Tax Processes and Operations
The Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS has held an enlightenment, education and training seminar for media practitioners on tax processes and operations.
The seminar which was held in Nicon Luxury Hotels, Abuja had in attendance members of the Multimedia Publishers Association of Nigeria, MPAN.
While delivering his paper on the theme of the seminar, Mr Chimenka Ezeribe explained that the FIRS which was established by the FIRS Act of 2007 is an agency of the Federal Government charged with the responsibility of; Assessing; Collecting; Accounting Taxes on behalf of the government with a mission; to operate a transparent and efficient tax system that optimizes tax revenue collection and voluntary compliance and vision; to deliver a quantity service to taxpayers partnership with other stakeholders and make taxation the pivot of national development.
He stressed that the functions of the FIRS is to collect, recover and pay to the designated account, any tax under any provisions of this Act or any other enactment or law; to assess persons, including companies , enterprises and individuals chargeable with tax and also to assess , collect and enforce payment of taxes as may be due to the government or any of its agencies. Adding that in collaboration with relevant ministries and agencies, the FIRS review the tax regimes and promote the application of tax revenues to stimulate economic activities and development; and in collaboration with relevant law enforcement agencies, carry out the examination and investigation of all cases of tax fraud or evasion with a view to enforcing compliance with the provision of the Act
Ezeribe explained that Tax is a compulsory financial charge or levy imposed on a taxpayer, individual or legal entity by government to fund public spendings.
Adding that, the purposes of tax are: to provide revenue for government; Re-distribute wealth; Protection of Local Industries; To Manage Inflation; Discourage Consumption of certain good.
He explained that the reason many taxpayers are not complying with payment of their tax are; ignorance of tac laws and regulations, ignorance of the purpose of tax, deliberate misapplication of tax laws, deliberate misapplication of accounting standards.
He noted that the current management team of the FIRS do a self assessment under the recommendation of IMF and based on international best practices, Nigeria adopted the Self-Assessment regime fully in 1998. This simply means that taxpayers compute their tax liabilities, make payment and file returns to the relevant tax authority at the due date. Adding that tax authority thereafter selects taxpayers to be audited.
While lamenting that most citizens in the country engage in tax avoidance, Ezeribe emphasized on the need to enforce tax laws which are; Federal Inland Revenue Service establishment Act 2007, Tax Administration,Self Assessment Regulations 2011, Company Income Tax Act 2007, Personal Income Tax Act 2011, Value Added Tax Act of 2007
Ezeribe further explained some of the misconceptions people have about FIRS, Tax appeal procedures, Tax payers’ rights and obligations, Self assessment regime and due dates, Taxes as well as levies administered by FIRS.
Certificates of Participation were awarded and presented to all the participants at the end of the seminar.