FIRS, NIBSS, Systemspecs harp on ITAS’ adoption for revenue generation, tax
MDAs switch to STA, close accounts
THE Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) and Systemspecs Limited have joined voices in the call for the adoption of the Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) to plug the assessed leakages in tax revenues and difficulties in assessment.
The trio, jointly working towards sensitsing the taxpayers on the benefits of electronic-filling in a bid to deepen the adoption, made the call in Lagos at the weekend during a sensitization workshop for tax consultants, taxpayers and banks.
The Acting Executive Chairman, FIRS, Kabiru Mashi, said the e-filing system was a self-service system, which enables taxpayers to electronically file and submit their tax returns along with accompanying documentations.
According to him, it was introduced in line with the Federal Government’s quest to simplify tax payments in the country, eliminate under/over assessment of tax obligations, as well as associated leakages.
“It serves as a means of reducing time and cost of compliance for tax payers and the interface between the taxpayers and tax authorities. It also provides added convenience for tax payers who can now sit in the comfort of their homes and offices and upload their tax returns,” he said.
The tax chief pointed out that the agency was mandated by law to access, collect and remit taxes accruable to the Federal Government, adding that in discharging the function, it was also empowered by law to fulfill the mandate by all lawful means.
But the Executive Director, Business Development, NIBSS, Mrs. Christabel Onyejekwe, said the collaboration between the three organisations was to develop an e-solution- a platform that would make it easy to pay tax across every channel in Nigeria.
According to her, it is the duty of every Nigerian who is of age to pay tax, but it is also the duty of every corporate Nigerian to contribute to the good of the country, hence NIBSS feels obliged to bring its experience to bear and rally its associates in facilitating the enabling solution for the e-filling.
“The e-filing is a simplified form of paying tax by individuals and corporates. If you go to the platform, it offers self-assessments. That enables you to assess yourself on what is outstanding and what is required to pay and how you can make your payment and once payment is made, it generates receipt, which will be passed to FIRS for proper documentation.
“Of course, NIBSS is a shared service infrastructure for the financial system. And we cannot talk about financial system without involving government, for example tax. Actually, we are owned by banks and they gave us approval to talk directly with FIRS to bring about the solution. So, its about banks and other partners- FIRS. NIBSS is only the back engine facilitating the whole process,” she said.
Also, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Systemspecs Limited, John Obaro, explained that prior to the introduction of the e-filing, payment of taxes, which used to be done manually, was very cumbersome.
According to him, the creation of an electronic filing through the Remita platform, a payment engine, simplified tax payment processes.
“A number of our organisations already use Remita to pay salaries, pension funds and others. But now, they are able to make tax payments to the FIRS on the platform. When they do that through the platform, they don’t need to submit any document again because we are integrated at the back end to the FIRS.
“With e-filing, the manual way of paying tax would be phased out gradually. There would be a period of transition ultimately,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has commenced an independent revenue e-collection scheme under the Treasury Single Account initiative.
With this, all revenue collections of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, which used to be deposited in banks, will now be sent directly to the Consolidated Revenue Fund at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through electronic payment channels.
In a circular signed by the Director, Banking and Payments System Department, CBN, Dipo Fatokun, and sent to all Deposit Money Banks, it stated: “Further to our letter dated 28th January, 2015, on the commencement of the Federal Government’s independent revenue e-collection scheme, this is to remind all banks that, the Federal Government’s independent revenue e-collection scheme has commenced.”
“The independent revenue e-collection initiative will automate revenue collections of Ministries, Departments and Agencies directly into the Federal Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund account at the Central Bank of Nigeria, through the Remit e-collection platform and other electronic payment channels.”
The CBN noted that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation had issued a treasury circular to all MDAs to close existing revenue accounts in DMBs not later than February 28, 2015 and transfer available funds to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“As previously communicated, your bank branches are required to have been set up and sensitised, and your Internet banking platform configured for use by revenue payers, to make transfers to the Federal Government e-collection account in your bank, which will be swept by you to the CRF, as previously agreed between the CBN, OAGF and the DMBs.
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