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FIRS: Simplifying tax compliance through ICT initiatives – Part 4

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Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS)
The purpose of the ITAS is to provide a common platform where all taxes pertaining to the FIRS can be filed electronically at the click of a button and from the comfort of the taxpayers’ office. The e-Filing application is a component of the ITAS.

ITAS was rolled out in key offices in Lagos and Abuja; as a result, some corporate taxpayers are now processing their tax returns through e-filing, without intervention by FIRS officials. ITAS can be accessed via FIRS’ website – www.firs.gov.ng. Using the e-filing platform as against the manual filing system at the tax offices is still optional to the taxpayer.

Procedure for E-filing on the ITAS Platform:
The process of e-filing using the ITAS platform involves two stages; getting a user ID to access the e-filing platform and rendering tax returns using the e-platform.

1. Getting unto the ITAS platform
To gain access to the ITAS platform, the taxpayer needs to follow these easy steps:
• Obtain the ‘e-filing access application form’ from any FIRS tax office nearest to him/her or download from FIRS’ website: www.firs.gov.ng.

• Complete the form by nominating officers from the organization, agents or tax consultants who will represent the taxpayer on tax matters (typically anyone who would be involved in the taxpayer’s tax/ computations or filing process. Taxpayers can always update this information to add or remove more people).

• The taxpayer would need to indicate on the form the type of access he/she may want each of the nominees above to have. For instance, either the rights to make changes or rights to file tax returns or rights to ‘view only’.

• Upon returning the completed form to FIRS tax office where the taxpayer’s tax matters are usually handled, FIRS will issue the taxpayer a Joint Tax Board (JTB ) approved tax identification number (TIN), together with other log in details to enable the taxpayer or his/her representative log unto the platform.

• The taxpayer will be required to change password upon first log-in. In case of loss of password, the taxpayer will need to re-apply to FIRS for issuance of a new password. Please ensure to keep your password safe!

• The platform is user-friendly; hence the taxpayer will be promptly able to navigate his/her way through to filing completion.

2. Rendering tax returns on the ITAS platform

To e-file tax returns through the platform after receiving log in details, the taxpayer needs to do the following:
• Login onto the platform and into the ‘Home’ page where a summary of the declarations (i.e. tax returns) which need to be filed can be seen.

• Have handy, either the hard or softcopy of the tax computations for ease of reference as he/she keys-in the required figures.

• Click on the ‘View all declarations’ hyperlink or on the ‘taxpayer service tab’ to commence the declaration. Then click on the tax type to be filed at the moment. Choose the tax period, and then click on ‘file now’ hyperlink on the relevant period on the expanded form.

• When the “file now” hyperlink is clicked, the actual tax returns page opens and the relevant form lines are displayed.

• On this page the taxpayer can decide to input the tax computation figures (which would have been prepared already) in each of the form lines (or fields) as applicable or may decide to upload a scanned copy (csv file) of the previously computed tax returns (set out preferably, in the ITAS prescribed format).

• When done with completing the fields or uploading scanned copies of tax computations and self-assessment forms (whichever the taxpayer finds more convenient), click on the “Submit declaration” button. This brings the user to a confirmation stage where he/she can verify whether the amounts entered are correct or not.

*An independent second or third eye review (only possible on the same pc) is advised at this stage as there is no provision for making changes once the ‘Yes’ button is clicked.

• If and when the taxpayer is certain that all information has been captured correctly, he/she should click on “Yes” for the returns to be submitted.

• Following this action, the declaration (or returns) will be submitted to the tax office and the page showing “end declaration process” will be displayed.

• To view submitted returns, click on the hyperlink “here” to go to the ‘view filed declaration’ page and see a summary of declaration (or filing).

• A document number will be displayed at the top right-hand corner of the page that shows a summary of taxpayer’s declaration. This document number should be copied for use at the bank where it will be required for settling the tax liabilities.

Integrated Stamp Duty Services (ISDS)
ISDS is an initiative to provide automation for Stamp Duty processes via an online platform. It is expected that when this platform is launched, in a few months, payment of stamp duties for CAC pre-incorporation processes, CAC post-incorporation processes, mortgages, debentures, leases, sales agreements, contracts and other stamp duty eligible documents will be easier and faster for taxpayers.

The manual processes of stamping will be replaced by electronic stamp duty certificates that will have embedded security features and will be emailed to taxpayers upon successful payment via any of the partner payment service providers. All processes relating to stamp duty payment will be moved online and fully automated. Payment of stamp duties online will be possible online via Verve, Mastercard, or Visa cards. Payment will also be possible via Internet banking platforms, NIBSS and Remita platforms. This will greatly ease tax payment of taxpayers.

It is expected that ISDS will provide a boost to stamp duty compliance nationwide and increase stamp duty revenues.

Conclusion
The importance of ICT in simplifying tax compliance processes and enhancing revenue generation cannot be over-emphasised. FIRS has resolved to effectively sustain and implement the automation processes and ICT initiatives that would enable it to achieve its non-oil revenue targets, necessary for funding the Federal Government budget. Taxpayers are strongly encouraged to embrace these ICT trends in order to effectively and easily comply with their tax obligations.


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