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FIRS Collects N1.8trillion Revenue In Six Months, Accuses Money Bags Of Tax Evasion

Ayodele Afoabi, Abuja – The Federal Inland Revenue Service ( FIRS) , has collected a total of N1.8trillion as tax revenues into the national treasury between January and June this year.

This was just as money bags in the country like Private jets owners totaling 130, indulge in tax evasion in one way or the other.

The Acting Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr Samuel Ogungbesan , made the disclosure on Thursday in Abuja while making submissions before the Senate leadership on the workings of his agency as regards the need to shore- up non-oil revenues for augmentation of the dwindling oil revenue.

The breakdown of the N1.8trillion tax revenues according to FIRS boss are N697 billion from Petroleum Profit Tax, N778 billion from Company Income Tax and N390 billion from Value Added Tax.

He said: “As at the end of June, So far the Petroleum Profit Tax, has given us N697bn for the first six months of the year but that could go up a little bit. For the non-oil components, we have Company Income Tax which has brought in N778bn from between January and June. Value Added Tax N376bn, other dedicated taxes, are the TETFUND, the technology levy and the consolidated account for the FCT which is mainly personal income taxation.

‘The N376bn VAT does not include import valves for the current month because customs will still give us the figure for the month but it is usually between N12bn and N15bn every month, so by the time we add it to this, it will be giving us about N390bn”

He however said revenue collection between 2012 and 2015 showed that 2015 is below the benchmark because according to him, “oil is not doing well due to the structure of the economy of Nigeria”, saying ” There are institutional rigidities that made this to be so. 79 percent of companies wait till 31st December to file their report “.

“We have N702 billion for this month now, it would be N715bn at the end of the month when the customs collection is received”, he disclosed

He disclosed further that the annual target of petroleum profit tax is N1.4trillion based on monthly expectation of N123.74bn to N150billion but added that the Oil and Gas which is key to the economy has not been doing too well in recent time.

He said: “The Oil and Gas which is key to the economy has not been doing too well. This is as a result of many factors. Many of these are completely outside our control. The price of oil in the international market has continued on the downward slide.

“Although it started gathering some momentum in the last three months. As at today, it is oscillating between $59 to $62 per barrel. What is within our purview is basically what intervention we can make to shore up the revenues from the non-oil sectors generally, part of which were the surcharge mode of taxation suggested by the immediate past government”

According to him, the last government, as part of financial strategies towards financing the 2015 budget, introduced a lot of new taxes called surcharge, like the one on air tickets for those flying business class on international routes who would pay N15, 000 per head and also on those owning private jets in the country.

He specifically disclosed that tax collection assessment carried out on the 130 owners of private jets in the country revealed that many of them, are not forthcoming, when it comes to the issue of appropriate tax payment and even that a lot of them do no longer own private jet but rather running platform at the Airport to collect charges from other private jets owners.

He said: “We also look at those who own private jets, furniture, mansion and others. Regrettably we have not been able to administer these because of some challenges. We raised assessment on 130 private jet owners. We raised about N100m on a particular company. I had met with them.

“There are some of them with platform at airport but their records show that they have private jets. We want to meet with the new government to know the fate of the tax on luxury items. We have doubts that the expected revenue from those flying first class may be too small to finance part of the budget.

“If we had said every passenger leaving the shores of the country should pay, it would be a different issue. But government said we should leave those flying economy. We are thinking that the taxes on Abuja mansion, the objective is not to impose additional burden on them. We hoped to improve on our collection now that the elections are over”

But the Senate President, Bukola Saraki in his remarks, described the luxury or surcharge taxes as sensational and not driven by sincerity.

He said our dependence on oil could no longer be a way forward for the country to move forward. Way forward is to look at the area of taxes which is more stable and reliable. It is not dependent on other issues outside the country.

He added that Taxes is currently just 6 percent of our GDP whereas other countries have up to 20 percent.

“The success of our revenue depends on other sources of revenue outside the oil and gas. We want to get it right so that we can plan ahead and if there are laws to be looked into that would probably gives incentives to states where the collection is higher instead of sharing equally. We need to improve on company Income tax”, he insists.


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