New TAX Chief blows hot, says consultants won’t collect taxes on behalf of FIRS

The Acting Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mr. Tunde Fowler, has said that he would not use consultants to collect taxes.

He spoke at a meeting of the Joint Tax Board, JTB, in Abuja.  The use of tax consultants to collect taxes, a practice that is prevalent among state governments have been criticised as illegal and open to corruption between the consultants and state governors.

Fowler said that the staff strength of the FIRS was not enough to undertake all that would be required in tax administration and as such consultants would be engaged but their duties would be exclusive of tax assessment and collection. His words: “You can imagine a staff roster that can audit the books of well over 400, 000 corporate organisations.  It won’t work. Therefore to increase the level of transparency and accountability, we would engage consultants.  But these consultants will only gather data.  The law does not allow them to undertake assessment.

The law does not allow them to collect revenue on behalf of government.

“Consequently, they will collect data; they are to assist our staff.  We will do the assessment and issue the Demand Notice for the tax to be paid”. On the level of tax payers compliance, the chairman disclosed that only slightly over 30 per cent companies and other businesses pay tax in the country.  A situation he said must change.

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