– FIRS BossThe adoption of a national Taxpayer Identification Number, TIN and information exchange amongst states will reduce tax evasion and lead to a growth in Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okauru has said.
Okauru who spoke in Akwa, Anambra state, said the adoption of such a number—away from the current stand alone TIN by each of the 36 states of the Federation will ensure that taxpayers can no longer engage in tax shopping like taxpayer currently do.
The FIRS chairman who is also the chairman of the Joint Tax Board—a collaborative forum consisting of all state Boards of Internal Revenue, the FIRS and relevant federal financial institutions called for autonomous state board of Internal revenue- and the adoption of a four-year tenure to improve performance.
Omoigui Okauru who delivered a paper: Maximising Internally Generated Revenue in Anambra state- a collective responsibility at the Town Hall Meeting organized by the Anambra state Government explained why automated tax administration processes would drive revenue generation: “At this juncture, I want to draw attention to the need to standardize and automate Tax Administration processes across all levels, with the FIRS and the states working cooperatively. In this regard, we have on the platform of the Joint Tax Board, JTB, articulated a Taxpayer Identification numbering project towards overcoming the current trend of having different numbering systems in different states.
“Obviously, if we could have a means of exchanging information on all identified taxpayers, we would be facilitating the work of internal revenue generation, because taxpayers cannot easily engage in ‘tax shopping’ as happens now. The full scope of Personal Income taxation will also be easier to harness for higher revenues as information on the economic endeavours of taxable entities become more visible across tax jurisdictions in the country due to he use of the unique identification method.
“Tax assessment and other core processes of tax administration including collection of taxes, levies, charges, etc as well as refunds a which remain sticking points across tax administrations in the country will be easier to manage as the TIN project becomes complemented by other ICT enabled initiatives. We urge the Anambra state Government to support the National TIN initiative through personnel and funding commitment to make this project of benefit to all a reality.
Lagos, Delta and Rivers State Boards of Internal revenue and the FIRS are amongst the few revenue agencies that have started generating taxpayer identification numbers.
Similarly, Omoigui Okauru canvassed for autonomous revenue boards. “State Governments should enact legislation to provide necessary autonomy to the Board and ensure that they are able to hire and retain required quality and quantity of manpower. It is instructive to note that the Personal Income Tax Act still needs to be amended to enable the State Government set up a Board that is supportive of modern day practices and such amendments need to be either initiated as a private bill or through any of the state Governments to the National Assembly.
“Also the Leadership of the Board, where it is not the case, should be engaged for a reasonable tenure, say four years renewable once, to foster continuity in the leadership and programmes of the board.
“There can be no happiness if there is dissonance in what we believe and what we do”