Although the 2019 Finance Act was signed into law on 13th January, 2020, many Nigerian traders, Market Union and owners of Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) are yet to take advantage of the provision meant to help them expand their businesses, the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on Wednesday, 19th February in Lagos met with over 100 officials of traders’ associations and unions as part of his ongoing public enlightenment tour of the South West to sensitize taxpayers and collecting agents on the provisions of the 2019 Finance Act.
The well attended interactive session held at the FIRS Complex on Agidingbi Road, Ikeja, Mr. Nami informed the audience that the event was a prelude to his personal visits to major markets in Lagos and other parts of the country in order to educate traders and marketers on the benefits of the Finance Act 2019 to them and their businesses, especially as registered Small and Micro Enterprises (SMES).
Mr. Nami listed these benefits to include exemption from paying value added tax (VAT), the reduction of the Company Income Tax (CIT) from 30% to 20%, among others. He urged the business owners to register their businesses officially, rather than operating informally, in order to access these benefits from the Act.
He enjoined the traders to separate their personal finances from their business capital in order not to lose their working capital to state tax bodies, stressing that doing so would help their businesses to grow as they pay less tax.
Mr. Nami advised that the traders should endeavor to charge VAT on applicable goods and services, especially consumption, and remit it to the FIRS promptly.
Highlighting some public infrastructures currently being built by the Federal Government, Mr. Nami stressed that the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration was making judicious use of tax revenue, and charged the traders to continue to pay their taxes promptly so that the government can do more for them.
Mr. Nami also disclosed that more FIRS tax offices would be opened in markets nationwide to bring the Service nearer to traders and make tax compliance easier for them
Mr. Nami said the FIRS on his watch would retune its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to benefit the informal sector, including markets, in order to create a conducive business environment for them. He stated that the ongoing reforms at the FIRS have decentralized key operations of the Service to make it easier to do business with the FIRS, including filing for Tax Clearance Certificate manually for it to be generated electronically on the Service’s Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS).