By Bassey Udo
Tax professional groups must take leadership in the education of the people on quality reporting on tax policies and laws to deepen tax development in Nigeria, the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, has said.
The Chairman spoke on Thursday while hosting a meeting of the Council Members of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), and the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) in Abuja.
The meeting was convened to discuss the challenge of implementation of an MoU on standardisation of tax practice in Nigeria.
He told participants in the meeting that professional tax groups involved in the regulation of tax practice in the country should show more interest in leading the conversations to enlighten the public on matters of tax policy and laws to deepen tax development in the country.
Calling on the professionals to demonstrate value-based leadership in their approach to tax policies and laws through the activities of the various Councils, Nami urged them to work hand-in-hand with the FIRS, to deepen the institutional framework through qualitative reporting and effective representation of their clients.
“Our professional bodies need to speak regularly on matters of tax policies and tax laws, especially on proposals to annual Finance Bills.
“We also urge you to help the Service to deepen institutional framework through quality reporting and effective representation of clients by our professional colleagues,” he said.
“We need to stem the tides in improving financial reporting to reduce the spate of ‘copy and paste’ financial reporting system as we experience today.”Nami added.
The FIRS Chairman who is also a Fellow of two of the three professional bodies explained that on the part of the tax agency, the tax authority had adopted renewed strategies to tackle financial reporting concerns.
The FIRS, he said, created new departments, such as the Intelligence, Strategic Data Mining and Analysis Department, the Special Crimes Department, the Tax Incentives Management Department and the Emerging and Special Taxes Department, to be at the forefront of unravelling financial reporting issues through data mining.
Also, he said the FIRS, alongside State Inland Revenue Services, were collaborating with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to build a databank to improve tax investigation.
Other strategies include the accreditation of tax consultants and auditors in the FIRS, the review of data from Automatic Exchange of Information as well as increased enforcement actions by the Service.
The Presidents of the three bodies, Benjamin Osisioma of ANAN; Tijjani Musa Isa of ICAN, and Adesina Adedayo of the CITN commended the FIRS Chairman for showing leadership in pushing for and enabling a resolution of the squabbles between the three bodies.
Thanking Nami for his leadership, ANAN President, Osisioma who spoke on behalf of the leadership of the groups, noted that failure to cooperate amongst the three bodies would lead to chaos in tax practice regulation in the country.
“If we fail to cooperate and collaborate, we would destroy what we are trying to build,” he stated.