The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has set a deadline of March 31 for all taxable persons to file their personal income tax returns.
The Chairman, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, stated this at the opening ceremony of the FIRS 2012 corporate retreat and enlarged management meeting in Abuja. She said the new Personal Income Tax Amendment Act, makes it a requirement for every individual tax payer in every state, including the FCT to file their self-assessment returns.
Mrs Omoigui-Okauru said FIRS only collects taxes from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), explaining that the personal income tax changes from state to state. She emphasised that notwithstanding the jurisdictions, tax payers “need to file tax returns by 31 March, 2012, otherwise you leave yourself open to sanctions by the tax authority.”
She said filing tax returns is an obligation that requires individual tax payers to go to “the tax office, obtain the form, declare all your income, complete your tax and then pay within two months.”
She warned that “within the Amendment Act now an individual can be sanctioned for not filing his/her returns.”
To ensure that Nigerians comply with the dictates of the Amendment Act, the FIRS chairman said it was important to start educating tax payers, adding that Lagos State has started educating tax payers, while FIRS is doing same in the FCT.
In her address, the Coordinating Minister for the economy, and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the Federal Government is “closely watching and observing developments within the tax sector and will continue to provide executive support at the highest levels, as required.”
TDr. Okonjo-Iweala said that the Federal Government was concerned about development in the nation’s tax system and would ensure its improvement through appropriate policy support to the tax authorities and taxpayers.
While charging the authorities to show commitment to their responsibility as a national development imperative, the minister added that it was the only way they could reciprocate the support from government and use taxation as an effective fiscal instrument for sustainable national development.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that a nation with an effective and efficient tax system will invariably have an economy, which is able to deliver on its developmental goals.
“The tax system can, therefore, be effectively utilised as a springboard for developing and stimulating development in all sectors of the economy,” the minister added.