Nigeria Loses $15bn to Tax Evasion Yearly, Says Fowler

Tunde Fowler

James Emejo in Abuja

The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Tunde Fowler, has said that the country loses about $15 billion to tax evasion annually.

Speaking during a meeting with tax professionals from across the globe, who converged in Abuja to chart ways to combat offshore tax evasion through exchange of information regime, the FIRS boss said Nigeria would implement the first automatic exchange of information standard by 2020.

He said the regime was part of the country’s commitment to improve transparency in tax administration, increased tax revenue collection, enhanced effectiveness and efficiency service delivery.

Fowler said in a statement yesterday that there was important linkage between tax compliance, domestic tax investigation, tax audit, information gathering framework and the international infrastructure for exchange of information among authorities and nations.

He also said that increase in mobility of income and assets had created a challenge for tax administration, stressing that governments across the world were joining efforts to address the menace.

He 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 expressed optimism that seminar will broaden knowledge of the over 50 participants and develop their skills on how to use AEOI tools to combat tax evasion and improve domestic revenue mobilisation in your countries.

He said the country had demonstrated its commitment to improve transparency around tax matters, when it signed a declaration and joined the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) in August 2017.

He added that in order to facilitate the process of implementing the automatic exchange of financial account information under the common reporting standard (CRS), Nigeria had published the AEOI regulations in the official gazette of the federation.