Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Tunde Fowler, Wednesday revealed that Nigeria was losing about $15bn (about N5.37tn) to tax evasion annually.
He made this comment during a seminar by the West Africa Tax Administration Forum (WATAF) on “Exchange of Information’’ as a tool to combat offshore tax evasion, especially in the ECOWAS sub-region.
He noted that the increasing mobility of income and assets had created a major challenge for tax administrators in the sub-region.
This, he said, was especially so because several information leaks released in the past years had unveiled the depth and breadth of the challenge.
A statement by FIRS quoted Fowler as saying that Nigeria would implement the first Automatic Exchange of Information standard by 2020.
Fowler noted that there was a direct linkage between tax compliance, domestic tax investigation, tax audit, information gathering framework and the international infrastructure for the exchange of information among tax authorities.
He said, “Nigeria had demonstrated her commitment to improving transparency around tax matters, when she signed a declaration and joined the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information on 17th August 2017.
“Furthermore, to facilitate the process of implementing the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information under the Common Reporting Standard, Nigeria published the AEOI regulations in the Official Gazette of the Federation.
“Finalized 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 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. ”