Directors and staff of the revenue agency and their technology partners (solution providers) leapt for joy as FIRS online tax payment portal came alive, signalling the birth of a new tax payment regime in the country.
In a poetic historical coincidence, First Bank of Nigeria, FBN, came first, when it recorded the first online payment on the FIRS portal (www.firsonline.com) on Tuesday May 19, 2009. iTECO Nigeria Limited was the first firm to pay taxes through the FIRS Internet based portal.
The online payment system, is linked to all FIRS Collecting and Lead Banks as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Under the new online payment system, taxpayers could now pay all categories of taxes online from the comfort of their desktops, laptops, palmtops and through internet enabled telephones, using the FIRS internet-based solution.
The online payment solution could be used to pay taxes administered by FIRS.
This is how the FIRS online payment works: Tax Cards are being issued by the FIRS through Lead and Collecting banks to enable tax payers fulfill their tax obligations without going to a bank branch or an FIRS office.
A Public Notice signed by Mr. Andy Ejemeyovwi, Ag. Director, Field Operations Processes and Programmes Department (FOPPD) at the FIRS, explained what a taxpayer needs to do to pay online:
Obtain an FIRS e-Tax Card from any bank of your choice where you maintain an account.
Log on to FIRS website: www.firs.gov.ng then click on make payment to be redirected to FIRS online tax page (www.firsonline.com) (it is expected that the taxpayer already has an assessment (self or government), that will determine the amount payable).
New users (taxpayers) would need to sign on using the password sent to the GSM number and the system would make a mandatory request that you change the password to what you will prefer using the suggested password rule.
If you have successfully signed-in, you could select “make payments” or “view reports.” If you selected “make payment”, fill the requisite FIRS forms for tax payment. *in case of Withholding Tax or Pay-As –You-Earn, fill a beneficiary schedule form for payment on behalf of a third party.
Select tax type (VAT, CIT, WHT, EDT, etc,) and specify the payment method (defaults to FIRS Tax Card). If VAT is selected, choose the specific branch to which the VAT is being paid. Specify required fields for the selected tax type or upload the file (if PAYE or WHT). For other taxes, complete the requisite data as displayed on the web page.
Taxpayers can make payments on the internet using the FIRS tax card only. *When payment information is submitted, a page is displayed which requests the taxpayer to confirm the correctness of all data entered. After confirming the correctness of payment information, enter the company’s Personal Identification Number (PIN) from the e-tax card and submit to complete payment.
*A payment reference as well as a reference acknowledgement are generated and can be printed for successful transactions. The system returns a message stating reason(s) for unsuccessful transactions.
In the current edition of Gauge—FIRS quarterly newsmagazine, Ejemeyovwi stated the Deadlines for Annual Reporting
Ø Personal Income Tax(PIT self-assessment and Capital Gains Tax (CGT: individual). Self assessment is on or before 31st March of the year of assessment.
Ø Value Added Tax (VAT) Returns are done monthly, not later than 21 days following the month of supply or purchase.
Ø Witholding Tax (WHT) Returns are done monthly, not later than the following month.
Ø Pay As You Earn (PAYE) This is payable for individual taxpayers who are in employment, and the deadline for remittance is 10 days after the end of every month.
One was Project FACT -, which eliminated the payment of cash by taxpayers and use of cheques at tax offices.
Another fall out is the issuance of Tax Identification Number, TIN. TIN is unique to all taxpayers and eases tracking of taxpayers and access to their tax history and records.
The Integrated Tax Administration System, ITAS is expected to consolidate all automation processes and projects and ease overall tax administration by the FIRS.
Director, Corporate Communications