Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has said that it would start charging Value Added Tax on online transactions, both domestic and international, with effective from January 2020.
Tunde Fowler, the executive chairman of FIRS, disclosed this at the African Tax Administration Forum Technical Workshop on VAT on Monday in Abuja.
Fowler said that a lot of countries in the world had identified Nigeria as a good market and many of them were into online businesses, adding that there was the need to tap the potentials to generate more revenue for the country.
He, however, said that that the date of commencement of the VAT on online transactions would be subject to government’s approval.
“We have thrown it out to Nigerians. Effective from January 2020, we will ask banks to charge VAT on online transactions, both domestic and international.
“VAT remains the cash cow in most African countries, with an average VAT-to-total tax revenue rate of 31 per cent. This is higher than the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s average of 20 per cent.
“This statistics, therefore, is a validation of the need for us to streamline the administration of this tax with the full knowledge of its potential contributions to national budgets.
“It is, however, also bearing in mind the rights of our taxpayers,” he said.
According to him, in Nigeria, for example, VAT is critical to the development of projects at all levels of government.
“VAT revenue is shared 15 per cent to the Federal Government, 50 per cent to state governments and 35 per cent to local governments.
“FIRS wrote to all commercial banks in May 2018, requesting for a list of companies, partnerships and enterprises with a banking turnover of N1 billion and above.
“This activity is aimed at ascertaining those companies that are compliant with the tax laws and those that are not,” he said.
Fowler, who is also the chairman of ATAF, said that the African tax outlook gave some starting points on the questions to ask regarding some aspects of VAT.