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FIRS Begins Digital Enrollment of Traders To Widen Tax Net

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On Thursday, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), with 190 nationwide offices, 15 state coordination offices, 19 VAT coordination offices, and 36 government business tax offices, commenced the implementation of the Integrated Market Revenue Management System (IMRMS), a purpose-built digital platform, to capture the informal sector, especially market traders, in the federal government’s tax net.

As a means to widen the tax net, the FIRS proposed new tax regulations on market traders. The committee argued that this would ensure fair taxation and prevent any tax evasion by market traders.

The FIRS, in partnership with the Market Traders Association of Nigeria (MATAN), the umbrella body of all trading associations in Nigeria, has proposed the IMRMS as a digital platform to collect and remit value-added tax (VAT) from traders in the general marketplace. The IMRMS is expected to streamline tax collection and ensure greater compliance with tax regulations.

The collaboration, called the VAT Direct Initiative (VDI), aims to reduce tax evasion and increase government revenue.

As per the agreement, MATAN is required to digitally count its members, provide them with digital identity recognized by the system, and monitor their turnover to collect and send the accumulated VAT directly to the FIRS.

With this program, the FIRS would collaborate with security forces to combat multiple taxation in the marketplace by putting an end to the illegal tax collection activities of touts, miscreants, and self-imposed tax collectors in Nigerian market areas.

Speaking at the official commencement of the traders’ enumeration exercise in Abuja, Mr Adebayo Adefeogbe, a director in the FIRS, said the initiative would grant the government coordinated access to almost 70 percent of untax revenue in the informal sector.

He said, “Collecting VAT from over 40 million traders would enable the government to provide basic amenities in marketplaces across the country.”

Moses Ige, MATAN National Coordinator of Incentives, has urged market leaders who were present at the event to sensitize members of various market associations to ensure that all traders are captured for the VAT Direct Initiative (VDI).

This initiative, however, has raised public concern about the government’s responsibilities in deploying security agencies to put an end to Agberos while ensuring the provision of adequate infrastructure suitable for markets to thrive and attract more businesses. Also, as of the time of publication, the VDI is yet to be made public for enrollment.

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