In the Federal Government’s determination to grow its revenue significantly so as to fund the yearly budget, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBBS), among others to grant the Joint Tax Board (JTB) access to relevant individual records.
The move, which is part of efforts to enable tax assessment of individuals and companies in the country, was announced on Monday by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the launch of the new National TIN Registration System.
According to him, “the ultimate outcome is increased revenues for governments and the ease of doing business for business owners, who must be registered and have an identification number. This helps to fund investments in infrastructure, social investment, human capital development and more.”
The new TIN Registration System, he stressed, “will utilize existing data from a variety of authorized identity management agencies, and help build a database that is reliable and verifiable.
What we have at the moment, he continued, “is data from the Corporate Affairs Commission, Identity Management Systems and TelCos (telecommunications companies). All of that data is relevant for tax purposes and what it does is to bring all the data together in one particular system which is through our tax identification number.
“The ultimate outcome is increased revenues for governments and the ease of doing business for business owners, who must be registered and have an identification number. This helps to fund investments in infrastructure, social investment, human capital development and more.”
Tax administration, he added, is built around credible and comprehensive data without which “an efficient tax system would” be impossible.
The various government agencies, including the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), are to provide vital statistics “such as numbers of eligible individuals and businesses, the volume of economic activity,” will not be possible.
With such data, Osinbajo continued, the JTB can “then design and implement strategies to take advantage” of these available data.
“This is where the need for proper identification of eligible taxpayers whether they be individuals or corporate bodies, comes in. A Tax Identification Number (TIN) is a vital instrument to uniquely identify, as well as, register new taxpayers and bring them into the tax bracket.”
Credible data, he continued, “give the managers of the national tax administration systems the capacity to conveniently and efficiently access and connect information from multiple sources. It forms the basis for projecting future revenues and for making realistic expenditure plans for governments.”
This new initiative, the Vice President explained further, “aligns fully with the Federal Government’s strategic objectives as outlined in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and all the other documents which are meant to power Nigeria’s economic development.”
On how the new system supports the administration’s Ease of Doing Business ambitions, Osinbajo explained further, allows businesses of all sizes to thrive, and keeps them away from the strictures of unnecessary bureaucracy.
“This reduces the possibilities of indiscretion and petty corruption with people asking for money,” he further told the gathering, assuring that “an easier operating environment will have positive implications for corporate bottom-lines with the expected positive impact on tax revenues.”
The new TIN system developed by the JTB as a novel initiative that presents a consolidated tax database for the entire country, with such benefits as ensuring seamless integration with relevant agencies by leveraging on already captured data. This is expected to reduce the burden of manual data sorting and, by extension, the cost of collection.
The system, according to the JTB, has a universal application that facilitates tax administration, just as it harmonises taxpayers’ data while enhancing the automatic exchange of information among relevant agencies and institutions in the country and beyond.
Photo caption: Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue and the Joint Tax Board (JTB), Babatunde Fowler (right) making a point to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (left) during the launch of the new tax system on Monday in Abuja.