The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has opposed the introduction of new tax laws in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), saying that they impinged on its mandate to collect taxes for the territory.
Making submissions before the National Assembly’s Joint Committee on FCT on two bills for the establishment of the Federal Capital Territory Property Tax and the Federal Capital Territory Internal Revenue Service Bill on Monday, the FIRS called for the suspension of property tax in the FCT.
Presenting the position of the FIRS, the Coordinating Director, Support Services Group, Mr. Osy Chuke, said, “Our view is that the Constitution does not envisage the creation of two revenue collecting agencies of the Federal Government overseeing the FCT, given that the FCT is an agency of the Federal Government, just like the FIRS.
"It should also be noted that there will be the need for several legislative amendments to accommodate an FCT Internal Revenue Service.
"The legislation to be amended will include FIRS Act, Taxes and Levis Approved List of Collection Act; Personal Income Tax Act; the Stamp Duties Act and Capital Gains Tax Act."
Chuke further argued that the proposed FCT IRS would encroach on the mandate of the FIRS in many ways, by providing for the collection of taxes that already were being collected by the FIRS.
"The creation of the two agencies to administer taxes in the FCT may not be efficient, especially if the current efforts of government to streamline agencies and reduce duplication of duties is considered."
He said it was wish of the FIRS that its current status as the collecting agency of the FCT was maintained, noting that it had been revenue collecting taxes for the FCT over the years.
According to him, the FIRS had collected and remitted to the FCT the sum of N100.6bn between 2005 and 2011, while N30.9bn had been collected between January 2012 and January 2013.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, in his remarks at the hearing, said the FCT should have its own structures and systems similar to those of states of the federation, saying that it would be in line with the spirit of the Constitution.
"I understand that presently the FIRS collects, on behalf of the FCT some form of taxes, but for a fee of four per cent. There are other revenue sources that could be taxed, but are left fallow, for lack of enabling laws. This public hearings will therefore provide members of the public with the opportunity to be involved in the process of law-making," he said.
He drew the attention of the public to the constitutional provision for all citizens to pay taxes, adding, "The FCT property tax bill when it becomes law would lead to expanding the revenue bases and creating new sources of funds."