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FIRS to boost tax compliance with electronic platforms

By on March 3, 2015

The Federal Inland Revenue Service said it has deployed what it called e-filing service and e-tax pay solution under its Integrated Tax Administration System to operate a transparent and efficient tax system that optimises tax revenue collection and voluntary compliance.

The objective of the ITAS, according to FIRS, is to change the current manual system of filling tax returns manually through FIRS tax offices.

According to government agency mandated by law to access, collect and remit taxes accruable to the Federal Government, the e-filing system is a self-service system which enables tax payers to electronically file and submit their tax returns along with accompanying documentation.

The FIRS said the e-tax pay solution, which is an initiative put in place in collaboration with the Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System Plc, was currently operational in all commercial banks.

The Acting Executive Chairman, FIRS, Alhaji Kabir Mashi, who disclosed this at a sensitisation workshop organised by FIRS in conjunction with NIBSS and SystemSpecs in Lagos, said, “As an organisation that has undergone and is still undergoing reforms, we have found it quite necessary to deploy technological tools in carrying out our functions.

He stated that the quest for simplification of tax compliance and ease of access to tax services led FIRS to recently roll out electronic filing service under the project Integrated Tax Administration System.

Mashi, who was represented by the Director Internal Affairs Department. FIRS, Mr. Achilles Amahwe, said, “We have not only tried to simplify filing, we have also gone further to enable our tax payers make payments electronically through the e-tax pay solution. This is an online self-service tax payment system, whereby tax payers can pay their taxes through banks’ internet banking platforms.

According to him, the e-filing system serves as a means of reducing time and cost of compliance for tax payers and reducing interface between tax payers and the tax authorities.

“It provides added convenience for tax payers who can now sit in the comfort of their homes or offices and upload their tax returns on the e-filing platform.

Mashi said the major objective of the FIRS e-tax pay is to ensure that tax payers that have successfully filed their tax returns through the e-filing service also use the e-tax pay solution to effect tax payment in a seamless end-to-end process.

“Our overall objective for introducing these two innovations is to operate a transparent and efficient tax system that optimises tax revenue collection and voluntary compliance. We therefore hope that tax payers will respond positively to these initiatives and utilise them.

“This will not only ease compliance from the tax payers, it will also enable FIRS to ensure better transparency in our operations as tax payers will have full access to their records which they upload themselves and also tax payments which they also make themselves through their banks,” he said.

Remita and e-Billspay are the two payment platforms that have been approved and adopted by FIRS to provide electronic tax payment channels that support this initiative. Remita is owned by SystemSpecs and e-Billspay originates from Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System.

“We are constantly developing self-service channels for tax processes, which are not only secure, convenient and fast, but also improve voluntary tax compliance. This is the ultimate goal, especially at this point in time when we need to improve non-oil taxes in the face of dwindling revenue from oil,” Mashi added.