FIRS rakes N23bn revenue, to prosecute 40,000 wealthy tax defaulters this year – Fowler

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The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Tunde Fowler said that the revenue generating agency realised the sum of N23 billion for its closer look at the books of over 45, 000 tax defaulters, each of which had over N 100 million as turnover in their accounts.

Fowler, who disclosed this in Abuja when the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu paid a courtesy visit to the Revenue House, added that the Service is going after another set of 40, 000 millionaire tax defaulters in 2019.

The tax collector boss explained that the service in collaboration with other stakeholders like the Nigeria Police will continue to go after wealthy tax defaulters this year.

According to him, FIRS had identified 45, 000 millionaire tax evaders last year, 2018 and recovered the sum of N23 billion through substitution of their bank accounts.

He, however, requested the Nigeria Police to help the Service bring the tax defaulters to pay their taxes.

Fowler thanked the Nigeria Police for their support and collaboration over the years which he said has helped FIRS to achieve its target and requested for more support to enable it to recover due to taxes from more 40, 000 rich tax evaders in 2019.

“Let me put on record that the Nigeria Police Force have been extremely helpful to FIRS. Without the Police, I doubt that the Service would have been able to achieve what we have achieved. 2018 was a successful year. The FIRS collected a total of N5.320 trillion of tax revenue. This is the highest revenue collection in the history of FIRS”, he said.

This is significant given that this collection was when oil prices oscillated between $50 and $70 per barrel. Oil price was at an average of $100 to $120 per barrel between 2012 when FIRS collected N5.07 trillion. The oil component of the N5.320 trillion is N2.467 trillion (46.38 percent), while the non-oil element of the collection is N2.852 trillion (53.62 per cent)

It would be recalled that Fowler, at the Management retreat at Eko hotels in Lagos, last month, spoke of FIRS’s plan to identify and tax bank account holders with over 100 million as a turnover but with no evidence of tax payment.

According to him, “We looked at businesses, partnerships of any activity that has banking turnover between N100 million and N999 million. We have done a review of this group of businesses. We have about seven more banks that we are still waiting for the return from and to review their information. So far, we have 45,361 that have TIN and are making payments.

“We have 40,611 that have TIN, that made tax payment and, and we have 44,504 that have no TIN and no pay. So, when you look at it from a glance, we have close to 75,000 in this group that is still not taxpayers and we have said the payment of tax is not only for the civil servants. it’s for all Nigerians. So, the millionaires and the billionaires will pay tax on behalf of what is due to the national coffers”, Fowler said.

The Police IG, Adamu said that the Police would continue to support the FIRS because the job of revenue generation is critical to the survival of the nation.

“We feel that the work you do is one of the most important for the survival of the country. And you need to be supported from all angles so that you achieve what you want to achieve to the benefit of every Nigerian. We will continue to work with you to improve security so that people would do their businesses here, make profits and pay their taxes. We believe that with the new Management team of the Nigeria Police, which is adopting Community Policing, we would be able to improve security”, the IG said.

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