10 November 2017

Nigeria: Panama, Paradise Papers Indict Tax Authorities - FIRS

The unraveling of defaulters in the leaked Panama and Paradise Papers shows that tax authorities in the country are not detecting defaulters of tax, the Chief Executive, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, has said.

The Panama Papers are 11.5 million leaked documents that detail financial and attorney-client information for more than 214,488 offshore entities. The documents, some dating back to the 1970s, were created by, and taken from, Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca,and were leaked in 2015 by an anonymous source.

While the Paradise Papers is a set of 13.4 million confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investment that were leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The newspaper shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and some of the details were made public on 5 November 2017.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the 2017 Tax Week celebration lecture organised by the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Fowler said there was need for tax authorities to put in more effort to ensure that individuals and organisations paid their taxes as and when due.

He emphasised the need for Nigerians to ensure they paid their taxes for sustained national economic growth, noting that it is not Nigeria alone that now depends on taxes to boost its economy and cater for its citizens but the world at large.

On his part, the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Prof. Steven Ocheni, said the first thing every government considered before arriving at its budget was the revenue it generated, adding that the major means of generating revenue was taxation.

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