By Festus Fifen
As Nigeria Grapples with the challenges of external debt servicing which available records says was more than income generated in the first quarter of 2022, the Ag chairman of the FCT Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS), Haruna Abdullahi, Tuesday, said only 10 percent of the registered tax payers in Nigeria capital are actually paying their taxes.
Mr. Abdullahi stated this at one-day tax seminar on reviving the culture of filing tax return in the nation’s capital, adding that this implies that 90 percent of the FCT residents registered for tax do not file their returns.
Abdullahi explained that in response to this challenge and to cushion the effect, the Service had introduced the Key Account Managers (KAM,) who follow up with taxpayers via one on one basis.
In his words, ‘’From our records, the number of taxpayers under the PAYE scheme is about 120,000 with half of the figure comprising staff of Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the IPPIS platform and those working for the FCTA and the Area Councils.
‘’This implies that 90 percent of the FCT residents registered for tax do not file their tax returns; meaning that only 10% of the registered taxpayers file their tax returns.
‘’In response to this challenge and to cushion the effect, the Service has introduced the Key Account Managers (KAM), who follow up with taxpayers via one on one basis,’’ the chairman explained.
He was, however, hopeful that the seminar would address the issue of low tax compliance among the residents since the most sustainable source of public finance remains taxes and levies.
‘’It is, therefore, prudent that we develop measures to best mobilize our internal resources,’’ he added.
According to the Ag chairman, when the Service took over tax administration in the FCT from the FIRS in 2015, the highest amount collected was about N48b, adding that in 2021, the Service collected over N100b with an additional N26billion in recoveries of unremitted With-holding Taxes (WHT).
‘’This year we intend to increase our collection to N150b and are in good stead to recover some unremitted taxes and levies taking us to a targeted collection figure of N200b,’’ said.
Abdullahi noted that with enhanced compliance by the remaining residents, the Service can provide a steady annual tax income of N300b to N400b, making room for high employment, curb low income and provide enhanced services to the residents.
The Ag chairman stressed that the need to revive the culture of filing tax returns cannot be overemphasized as this is critical to providing financing for the government to deliver public services that are vital to sustainable development in the FCT.
“A recollection of our starting point and where we are currently will help steer the conversation in the desired direction,’’ he said.
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