Abuja, Dec. 21, 2023: The Federal Capital Territory Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS) is to deploy artificial intelligence to facilitate voluntary tax compliance in 2024 as it generated N301 billion in 2023.
The acting Executive Chairman of the service, Mr Haruna Abdullahi, made this known during the FCT-IRS end-of-year media briefing, in Abuja on Wednesday.
Abdullahi added that other technology solutions to be deployed include cloud computing, collaboration tools, business process automation and data analytical tools.
According to him, the goal is to improve performance of routine tasks, aimed at encouraging voluntary compliance and ease of doing business.
He explained that from inception, the emphasis has been on driving the Service using technology, adding that the Service has invested in modern working tools such as hardware and software.
“The Service will further employ the use of technology to enhance operations mainly in compliance, enforcement.
“We will also seek to consolidate the culture of transparency and accountability in order to build trust and cooperation between the service and the taxpayers.
“The processes of registration, payment, receipt, assessment, Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) issuance, filing of returns, TCC verification, and generation of withholding tax credit notes have all been automated.
“Also, to encourage voluntary compliance and to allow taxpayers perform their tax obligations at the comfort of their homes or offices, the FCT-IRS introduced a Self-Service portal, www.fctirs.gov.ng.
“This enables taxpayers to request for Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), file annual returns, make payment and request for TCC,” he said.
The acting chairman added that the Service would, in accordance with the tax laws, apply a penalty for non-filing of annual returns by January 31 of every year for employers and March 31 of every year for individuals.
According to him, part of the effort is to ensure compliance with filing of returns.
He added that a comprehensive reassessment of returns would be intensified, which would be followed by constant monitoring and compliance exercises.
He also said that to comply with the ease of doing business initiative, the Service would open more tax offices across the six Area Councils in FCT and at strategic locations.
This, he said, would ensure convenience of the taxpayers and further streamline services, making the tax offices accessible to a broader population and contributing to overall organisational growth.
“Additionally, a state of the art headquarters will be constructed, not only to provide for coordination of operations but also reflect our commitment to excellence.
“To attract and retain young talents, the Service will embark on providing targeted training programmes towards ensuring employees stay updated with industry trends.
“We will also be providing staff with modern working tools to foster efficiency and innovation,” he said.
Abdullahi disclosed that from January 2024, the Service would embark on intensive enforcement exercise in line with the provisions of extant laws.
He added that the Service would not only hesitate to prosecute tax offenders through the instrumentality of the law but would ensure that all tax due to FCT were recovered.
Meanwhile, it has generated N203.1 billion in from January to date and set N250 billion target for 2024.
Abdullahi explained that the tax revenue collection of the FCT-IRS grew from barely N46 billion in 2017 to over N124 billion in 2022 indicating over 270 per cent growth.
He added that as at Dec. 19, the service has generated N203.1 billion representing a 63.3 per cent increased from the N124 billion generated in 2022.
“I would like to inform the general public that as at Dec. 19, the FCT-IRS for the first time since its inception in 2015, has exceeded the N200 billion mark by generating the sum of N203.1 billion as annual revenue for the year 2023,” he said.
On the N250 billion 2024 target, the acting chairman expressed optimism that it would be realised and possibly surpassed the target.
Abdullahi added that the taxpayer base has equally grown from about 543,969 for individuals and 284,746 for non-individual in 2015 to 1.1 million for individuals and 389,981 for non-individuals in 2023.
He recalled that the Service commenced operation in 2015, with an interim Chairman, Secretary and 12 staff from FCT Administration and only one office located at Kaura District.
He added that currently, the Service has a staff strength of 623 spread across 17 offices within the FCT.
He also said that the FCT-IRS in collaboration with other sister agencies has commenced the enforcement of Section 85 of the Personal Income Tax Act, 2011 (as amended).
He equally said that Section 31 of the FCT-IRS Act, 2015 mandating government agencies, commercial banks, and corporate bodies to demand and verify TCC as recondition for rendering services was also being enforced.
He said that Service envisaged a growth stage from January 2024 to December 2028, with an annual revenue target of N500 billion.
To actualize the target, the acting chairman said that the Service would optimise the current revenue streams, operationalise non-performing tax types and strategic tax audit of individuals and non-individuals.
“The Service also intends to improve the taxpayer base through tax education, town hall meetings, media engagements, inter-agency collaboration within FCT Secretariat, Departments and Agencies and other key stakeholders.
“Some of the stakeholders include the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Joint Tax Board, tax practitioners, development partners and other professional bodies among others,” he said.