Nigeria loses about $15 billion dollars to tax evasion annually. To check this, Nigeria would implement the first Automatic Exchange of Information standard by 2020.
A press release issued on Wednesday said the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Tunde Fowler, made this disclosure when no few than 50 participant tax experts across the globe met in Abuja to chart ways to combat offshore tax evasion through exchange of information regime.
He noted that increase in mobility of income and assets had created a challenge for tax administration and that government across the world were joining efforts to address such challenges.
Fowler noted that the challenges offered a global response to the issues of international tax avoidance, tax evasion, illicit financial flows, money laundering and other harmful tax practices based cooperation and use of advanced technologies to tackle the issues.
He said the regime was part of the country’s commitment to improve transparency in tax administration, increased tax revenue collection, and enhance effective and efficient service delivery.
Fowler said there was linkage between tax compliance, domestic tax investigation, tax audit, information gathering framework and the international infrastructure for exchange of information amongst authorities and nations.
According to Fowler, “Nigeria had demonstrated her commitment to improve transparency around tax matters, when she signed a declaration and joined the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) on 17th August 2017.
“Furthermore, to facilitate the process of implementing the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), Nigeria published the AEOI regulations in the Official Gazette of the Federation.
“Finalised and issued CRS guidelines, constructed and finished a dedicated building for the operation of the AEOI and put in place the necessary Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to operationalize the AEOI processes.
“Nigeria has done all these to enable us conduct the first exchange of information under the automatic exchange of information regime by September 2020.
Earlier, Mr. Babatunde Oladapo, the Executive Secretary, West Africa Tax Administration Forum (WATAF), said that the body was committed to contributing to the expansion of the global tax base through exchange of information.
Oladapo said efforts were on to the closed gap among nations to ensure effective implementation of exchange of information and tax administration could only be done successful, based on the availability of information.
He commended the OECD Global Forum for leading the drive for the automatic exchange of information that would ensure high network of individuals and multinationals were made to pay their taxes.