Henceforth, foreign companies will no longer be allowed to operate without paying taxes, says President Muhammadu Buhari, Thursday while directing the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and related government agencies to enforce strict compliance of tax payments by foreign companies operating in Nigeria.
Buhari said in a virtual address at the First National Tax Dialogue held at the State House in Abuja. He reaffirms that foreign agencies would no longer be allowed to do business in the country without paying appropriate taxes.
He explained that his administration is, however, not seeking to increase the tax burden upon citizens but to plug the existing tax loopholes or leakages and to ensure even and equitable application of the tax laws.
Buhari added it is not enough that citizens and local businesses pay their fair share of taxes. “Equally, foreign businesses must also not be allowed to continue to exploit our markets and economy without paying appropriate taxes”, he said.
According to the president, the FIRS has mandate to speedily put all measures in place to fully implement programmes to stamp out Base Erosion and Profit Shifting in all their ramifications and generally automate its tax processes.
“In line with this, I have directed all government agencies and business enterprises to grant FIRS access to their systems for seamless connection. FIRS must ensure that its deployment of technology for automation is done in line with international best practices. In particular, FIRS can borrow a leaf from other countries which have successfully automated their tax processes.”
Buhari also said the country will improve its inclusive framework and develop internationally acceptable rules for taxation.
“The Inclusive Framework would have evolved into an acceptable multilateral solution that will comprehensively address the tax challenges of the digitalised economy by the middle of 2021.”
He stated that the FIRS Establishment Act in the Finance Act 2020 has been amended to provide a legislative framework for the adoption of technology in tax administration.
“Every Nigerian must see tax payment in its proper context, which is, as a solemn and patriotic obligation that is necessary for building a better society”, he added.
FIRS chairman, Muhammad Nami, called for a new, comprehensive tax payment culture in the country.