The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), yesterday, kicked against the introduction of new tax laws in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It said that doing so would erode its authority to collect taxes for the FCT.
Coordinating Director of Support Services at FIRS, Mr. Osy Chuke, made the declaration while making submissions before the Senate Committee on FCT on two bills for the establishment of the FCT Property Tax and the FCT Internal Revenue Service.
Consequently, the FIRS called for the suspension of property tax bill in the FCT.
"Our view is that the constitution does not envisage the creation of two revenue collecting agencies of the federal government overseeing the FCT, given that the FCT is an agency of the federal government just like the FIRS.
"It should also be noted that there will be need for several legislative amendments to accommodate an FCT Internal Revenue Service. The legislation to be amended will include FIRS Act, Taxes and Levis Approved List of Collection Act, Personal Income Tax Act, the Stamp Duties Act and Capital Gains Tax Act," he said.
The proposed FCT IRS according to him will encroach on the mandate of the FIRS in many ways, by providing for the collection of taxes that already were being collected by the FIRS.
"It should be noted that the FCT presently collects ground rent and tenement rates on properties through the Abuja Geographical Information System (AGIS) and the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC)," he added.
Chuke further said that it was the wish of the FIRS that its current status as the collecting agency of the FCT was maintained, and noted that it had been collecting taxes for the FCT over the years.
According to the director, the FIRS had collected and remitted to the FCT N100.6billion from 2005 to 2011, while N30.9billion had been collected between January 2012 and January 2013.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, in his remarks at the hearing, said that the FCT should have its own structures and systems similar to those of states of the federation, and added thatit would be in line with the spirit of the Constitution. "I understand that presently the FIRS collects, on behalf of the FCT some form of taxes, but for a fee of four per cent. There are other revenue sources that could be taxed, but are left to fallow, for lack of enabling laws."
He drew the attention of the public to the constitutional provision for all citizens to pay taxes, and added that, "The FCT property tax bill when it becomes law would lead to expanding the revenue bases and creating new sources of funds."