Taxes are critical to government spending on social services such as security, education, power, health and other development initiatives that improve the welfare of citizens. In Nigeria, the major source of government income is crude oil whose price has consistently remained unstable and unreliable. Therefore, the unpredictability of the market makes it imperative for the nation to have an improved tax system to lessen reliance on crude oil revenues and increase funding for government to meet its obligations to the people.
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has been contributing significantly in the funding of the Nigerian budget over the past years. In 2021, the total budget of the country was N13.6 trillion. The Service contributed N6.40 trillion, which was more than 40 per cent to fund the budget. In 2020, FIRS contributed over 46.7 per cent of the budget, 54.6 per cent in 2016, 55.2 per cent in 2017, 58.3 per cent in 2018, and 59.0 per cent in 2019.
The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Muhammad Nami, at the recent 2nd Annual National Tax Dialogue in Abuja, said the Service contributed over 59.49 percent of the revenue shared by the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) monthly in 2021.
Looking at the contributions of FIRS to the funding of the Nigeria budget, it is obvious that the Service has become an important pillar of development in the country.
The FIRS has digitalised most of its processes for easy accessibility. Two months ago, the Service introduced an online platform called the ‹Self-service stations. While introducing the platform, FIRS explained that the stations would enable taxpayers to file tax returns, pay taxes, apply for and validate tax clearance certificates among other services, by themselves using an online platform located in FIRS tax offices across the country.
FIRS noted that the TaxPro Max Solution is “part of the Service efforts to enhance voluntary tax compliance, make it more convenient for the taxpayers to access FIRS services” as the self-service stations have designated officers readily available to assist taxpayers with any technical difficulty or concerns that may arise. The Service enjoined taxpayers to take advantage of the self-service stations in fulfilling their tax obligations.