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Buhari sends powerful message to FIRS, others over tax payment

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President Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and other related government agencies to ensure strict compliance of tax payments by foreign companies operating in Nigeria by plugging all revenue leakages.

Techeconomy.ng gathered that the directive was given by President Buhari at the virtual First National Tax Dialogue held at the Conference Hall of the State House, Abuja.

The president said: “It is not enough that our citizens and local businesses pay their fair share of taxes. Equally, foreign businesses must also not be allowed to continue to exploit our markets and economy without paying appropriate taxes.

” Accordingly, the FIRS has my mandate to speedily put all measures in place to fully implement programmes to stamp out Base Erosion and Profit Shifting in all their ramifications and generally automate its tax processes.

“In line with this, I have directed all government agencies and business enterprises to grant FIRS access to their systems for seamless connection.

”FIRS must ensure that its deployment of technology for automation is done in line with international best practices.  In particular, FIRS can borrow a leaf from other countries which have successfully automated their tax processes,’’ Buhari said.

The president noted that his administration was strategically restructuring the tax revenue mix in favour of indirect taxes in accordance with the national tax policy document.

According to him, ”To this end, FIRS is mandated to do all that is required in order to efficiently collect tax revenue due from transactions carried out using local and foreign online platforms. The government has made relevant statutory amendment to tax laws in the Finance Act 2020.

”The administration is, however, not seeking to increase the tax burden upon the citizens but to plug the existing tax loopholes or leakages and to ensure even and equitable application of the tax laws.

”This was clearly demonstrated by the provisions in the Finance Act 2019, whereby government exempted small companies from tax and reduced the income tax rate for medium companies from 30% to 20%.

”In the Finance Act 2020, which I signed into law at the tail end of 2020, we went further to cushion the burden of tax on the low-wage workers by exempting minimum wage from personal income tax,

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