Abuja targets eligible taxpayers
Publish date: 09 September 2019
Issue Number: 840
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Nigeria could be facing a fiscal crisis if it doesn't improve its ability to collect taxes, the authorities have warned. Government expenditure has doubled and debt servicing costs have grown, but revenues have missed their targets by at least 45% a year since 2015. Despite this, the Office of the Presidency has praised the work of the national tax body, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, for doubling the number of taxpayers over the past four years. Last year, 19m Nigerians paid into federal or state coffers. However, a World Bank report puts the country's economically active population at 65m and, as a result, less than 30% of taxpayers are submitting returns. BBC News reports that the authorities in 2017 offered a 12-month amnesty for Nigerians to declare and pay taxes on all previously undeclared income and assets to avoid penalty payments and possible prosecution. However, just 8% of this target was reached by the end of the amnesty period.