Nigeria: FIRS' Administrative Reforms: A Strategic Shift

Last Updated: 7 August 2014
Article by Yomi Olugbenro
Most Read Contributor in Nigeria, October 2018

The NTP requires tax authorities to create conducive tax environments that would enhance taxpayers' confidence at all levels of government. Although this seems like an enormous task - considering Nigeria's inherent challenges (legal, administrative, policy and institutional framework), FIRS has made big strides towards achieving this objective.

In 2002, the Federal Government of Nigeria set up a study group to examine the Nigerian tax system and make appropriate recommendations towards an improved tax system. One major recommendation put forward by the study group is the development of a National Tax Policy (NTP), which is aimed, amongst others, at addressing inherent problems in the Nigerian tax system. It was therefore not a surprise when the Bill to establish the Federal Inland Revenue Service Establishment Act ("the Act") was passed by the National Assembly in 2007 and signed by the President.

The Act provides for the establishment of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as a body corporate with perpetual succession, common seal, ability to sue and be sued and the capacity to acquire, hold or dispose property for the purpose of carrying out any of its functions as contained in the Act. In addition to the powers conferred on it by the Act, FIRS was provided the much needed platform to drive efficiency and effectiveness in tax administration. How has FIRS fared since its liberalization?

FIRS as constituted under the Act, has made huge strides in tax administration since it was granted autonomy in 2007. For instance, FIRS has leveraged the immense capabilities of information and communication technology in automating processes. A case in point is the automation of revenue collection which was hitherto a conduit pipe for revenue leakage.

There have been significant efforts at eliminating the bottlenecks associated with the old system (e.g. the issuing of new regulations, the shift from manual to a semi-automated mode of issuing receipts, withholding tax credit notes etc.). Special recognition must also be given to FIRS for its role in sensitizing the public on tax matters through adverts and workshops. Notable achievements in this regard in the last 30 months include the following:

Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS)

In July 2013, FIRS, through the Modernization Group (MOG), announced its intention to launch the Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) – a system that is intended to enable taxpayers complete and file tax returns online. Although, no specific date was indicated for the transition to ITAS, it is expected that FIRS would initially allow ITAS run concurrently with the current manual filing process until there is some comfort with the system's functionality. This is to ensure seamless transition to the electronic platform. Taxes covered by ITAS are companies income tax, capital gains tax, petroleum profit tax and value added tax.

Self-assessment regulation

The legal framework for self-assessment has generated divergent opinions among taxpayers, tax practitioners and relevant tax authorities in Nigeria. This resulted in inconsistencies in the self-assessment practices in Nigeria. To address this, FIRS issued a Self-Assessment Regulation ("the Regulation") in 2012. The Regulation provides standard guidelines for implementation of the established self-assessment regime in support of an established tax administration system in Nigeria. It sets out the processes and procedures for self- assessment practice by taxpayers and tax authorities.

The key issues covered in the Regulation include the official recognition of the use of tax agents, extension of time for making returns, due dates for filing returns, installment payment, administrative assessment and the appeal procedure under the administrative assessment regime, etc. The Regulation applies to Companies Income Tax Act (CITA), Personal Income Tax Act (PITA), Petroleum Profits Tax Act (PPTA), Value Added Tax Act (VATA) etc.

Sensitization programs

FIRS have conducted various stakeholder meetings whose aims, amongst others, include: obtaining feedback on tax practices; enlightening taxpayers on controversial regulations; and informing practitioners on proposed initiatives. It is noteworthy that FIRS has been able to provide clarity to taxpayers (who were hitherto in the dark about their obligations – thereby being at the mercy of the FIRS), as well as shape a better tax administration through an 'all inclusive government' through these forums.

The NTP requires tax authorities to create conducive tax environments that would enhance taxpayers' confidence at all levels of government. Although this seems like an enormous task - considering Nigeria's inherent challenges (legal, administrative, policy and institutional framework), FIRS has made big strides towards achieving this objective. This is evidenced by the increased number of 'known' taxpayers and 'visible' income streams available to FIRS. On this backdrop, one need not look too far to see why revenue collection has attained an average growth rate of 22% in the last 8 years (Courtesy: Planning, Reporting and Statistics Department of FIRS).

There is still a lot to be done by FIRS vis-à-vis improving tax administration in Nigeria. To this end, FIRS needs to be encouraged to continue its upward shift. Hence, the Federal Government should provide FIRS with the much needed impetus to build a formidable taxing institution.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Yomi Olugbenro
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
PwC Nigeria
Deloitte Nigeria
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
PwC Nigeria
Deloitte Nigeria
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions