Buhari recommends using technology to tax digital transactions –
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the deployment of technology to tax all digital transactions across the country.
This was announced by the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, during the 17th General Assembly and 10th anniversary of the West Africa Tax Administration Forum (WATAF) in Abuja on Tuesday.
The meeting is a high-level policy dialogue on the taxation of the digital economy hosted by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Mustapha said the president ordered the tax authorities to ensure digital transactions are taxed digitally, and that the goal of their efforts was to achieve seamless digital collection and remittance of tax revenues from the digital economy.
He said the president had successfully led the deployment of technology in revenue collection and transfer as a matter of government policy.
The SGF said FIRS had been strengthened to carry out this mandate by the President and the Federal Executive Council (FRC), to “digitize tax collection channels in particular and tax administration processes in general.
According to him, this is supported by changing tax laws and empowering the tax authorities to use technology in tax.
“Nigeria is taking steps to ensure that we stay abreast of these developments and answer the question of what to collect and how to collect it, as far as the digital economy is concerned.
“Therefore, our definition of what to collect, whether we call it income tax, digital service tax, or value-added tax, needs to address the issue of redefining who a taxpayer or entity is to account for the fact that digital transactions the ordinary and traditional understanding of jurisdiction,” he said.
In his remarks, FIRS Chairman Mohammed Nami said that the importance of WATAF’s role cannot be overemphasized because the reason it was established by its founding fathers was to create the atmosphere for a dialogue on joint efforts.
Nami said the goal was not only still valid, but was becoming increasingly important, and therefore stressed the need for more synergy.
He said the 2021 theme, “The Taxation of the Digital Economy: Exploring Untapped Revenue Sources in Africa,” was a good illustration of how they would continue to work together as partners.
“When you talk about taxing the digital economy, you’re talking about an economy without physical borders, trade and commerce that transcends our natural geographic boundaries.
“As far as tax administration is concerned, the only way to possibly do this with any degree of accuracy and effectiveness is if it is done digitally, as the commercial activity itself is also done digitally.
“Tax regulators and other industry stakeholders must therefore rise to the challenge of being able to harness the flood of opportunities that advances in science and technology offer us,” he stated.