Fed Govt to cut FIRS’ N8.5tr target

The Federal Government is revising the non-oil revenue projections, including various tax and customs receipts.

This means the N8.5trillion target set for the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) will be slashed at the end of the review.

However, the minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed made this known during her Corona virus pandemic (COVID 19) stimulus presentation in Abuja.

Already, the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation  Mr Ben Akabueze has commenced work on the review.

According to Zainab Ahmed, “the 2020 Appropriation Act was based on certain fiscal assumptions, which we have been compelled to revisit given the emerging economic realities.”

In this regard, the Budget Office she said “is currently working on a revised 2020 – 2022 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) as well as an Amendment to the 2020 Appropriation Act.”

The proposed Amended Budget will provide for the COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund and other adjustments required due to the decline in international oil prices.

The Executive, she noted, has “commenced engagements with the Leadership and key Committees of the National Assembly to discuss our plans, such that once the Executive’s 2020 Amendment Budget is completed, we shall expeditiously seek the requisite Presidential and Legislative approvals.”

In the interim, the FIRS said it has set up a number of measures to provide support to taxpayers in managing their tax obligations as they are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

These measures include: Taxpayers can now take advantage of “the simple, user-friendly and robust eFiling process to submit their documents online instead of visiting the tax offices.

Also, Late Returns Penalty (LRP) has been waived for taxpayers who pay early and file later. Supporting documents can also be emailed to the dedicated email addresses or submitted later to the tax offices by those who are not able to use the email facility.

Remittance of VAT on or before 21st of every month has been extended to the last day of the month. Taxpayers facing challenges in sourcing for forex to offset their liabilities have been given the option of paying in naira at the prevailing Investors & Exporters (I &E) Forex window rate on the day of payment.

The period to file PIT returns for Foreign Affairs, non-residents, Military and Police has been extended to the June 30 and field audit, investigations and monitoring visits have been suspended till further notice.

Hints that the FIRS might not meet its target was made at the last month’s Service’s retreat in Abuja.

At the retreat, it was revealed that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS ) in January 2020 had collected tax revenue of ?338.1 billion against a tax target of ?620.2 billion.

The figure represents the aggregate collection by states’ coordinating units on monthly basis.

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