Nigeria, through its collection arm, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), is launching a massive operation to track down bad taxpayers. In 2018, the collection agency collected some 5.32 trillion naira ($6.4 billion) in tax revenue and plans to examine 45,000 entities with a turnover of over 100 million naira ($76,000).

Nigerian tax authorities are tracking down tax defaulters. According to Babatunde Fowler, chairman of the Federal inland revenue service (FIRS), the federal collection agency, in collaboration with other stakeholders such as the police, will tackle delinquencies in 2019. In January this year, the FIRS chairman spoke of plans to identify and tax bank account holders with sums in excess of 100 million naira, but with no proof of tax payments. FIRS is also waiting for data from seven other banks to continue the monitoring process. These are mainly companies with a turnover of between 100 million and 999 million naira, or between $276,000 and $2.7 million.

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“We have 40,611 who have made a tax payment and we have 44,504 who have not paid any tax or salary. Now these millionaires and billionaires will pay tax on behalf of what is due to the national treasury,” Fowler told the News Agency of Nigeria.

Taxing the rich and tax evaders

This year, FIRS aims to recover taxes owed by nearly 45,000 wealthy tax evaders. In total, the Nigerian collection agency collected a total of N5.32 trillion in tax revenue in 2018, or about $6.4 billion. The oil component of the sum is N2,467 billion (46.38%), while the non-oil share is N2,852 billion (53.62%).

Revenues that have gradually increased over the years. “In 2016, we collected N3.307 trillion.In recent years, the West African country has put in place ICT initiatives that allow taxpayers to pay their taxes remotely, through a digitization of procedures.

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