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FG plans new tax system to check evasion

Published by Punch on Tue, 13 Dec 2011

Hard times await treasury looters and tax evaders as the Federal Government on Monday in Abuja said it was planning to evolve a new tax system to curtail fraud in the country.When operational, the system, which will be designed to expose public officers who steal public funds, will compel every Nigerian in the working group to pay taxes without the possibility of evasion.The system will be linked to every bank in the country through a comprehensive computerisation process in which every bank account will be monitored in tax offices across the country.The information on lodgements of accounts will also be available to the tax officers.The Special Assistant to the FIRS Chairman, Mr. Attah Abdullahi, stated these at a workshop with the theme, Development of corruption prevention strategy for Nigeria, where the United Kingdom said it had committed 5m in four years to Nigerias anti-graft crusade.The workshop was organised for the employees of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission by the Programme Office of Justice for All, a project funded by the United Kingdoms Department for International Development.Abdullahi said, Every registered business, including transactions by importers, will, henceforth, be taxed, while Nigerians, who have been evading taxes in the past, will now be compelled through the new system to pay their taxes.Already, the FIRS has recruited not less than 2,000 experts to operate the new tax system in Nigeria; those recruited are already undergoing special training.Among those recruited, according to Abdullahi, are officials from the banking sector, GSM providers, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau, State Security Services and different ministries.He added that before being employed, each of them went through competitive screening in order to recruit the best among them.Every taxpayer, he said, would also have tax identification codes, which would make tax evaders to be easily detected whereas, the FIRS would create data on taxpayers both at the state and federal levels with the new tax system.Abdullahi added that while arrangements were on to roll out the new system, the proper operation would begin to take effect in the next two years.He said Nigerians with ill-gotten wealth, including the properties they had purchased with looted funds, would be taxed.The FIRS, he added, had forged a synergy with the Abuja Geography Information System to track properties that had been evading taxes.He disclosed that the FIRS would be at liberty to implement the new tax system having now been financially autonomous, adding that the tax agency would be going into partnership with the anti-graft agencies.He said taxation had become a very strategic means of fund generation for the government and recalled how the FIRS under the chairmanship of Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, had made advancement in raising funds for the government from the billion mark to trillions.In an interview with journalists, the National Programme Manager, DFID and J4A, Dr. Bob Arnot, said his agency had been working with the anti-corruption agencies in the country with a view to making them efficient and result-oriented
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