AN EXAMINATION OF TAX ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT MECHANISMS UNDER THE FEDERAL INLAND REVENUE SERVICE ACT, 2007

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ABSTRACT

From the inception of modern taxation in Nigeria in the first decade of the 20th century the problem of poor tax administration has been the cankerworms that militate against an optimum revenue generation which affect negatively the government ability to render essential services to the citizenry. With the above problems in mind, various reforms were initiated aimed at improving the standard of tax administration in order to ensure an improved revenue generation by the government. The first of such reform were the Native Revenue Proclamation of 1906 which systematized all pre-colonial taxes that existed in Northern Nigeria which was re-issued in 1914 and extended to the West and East in 1918 and 1927 respectively. Other reforms followed in 1943, 1958 (Income Tax Ordinance of 1958), 1961 (Companies Income Tax Act No 22 of 1961) and 1993 (Finance Miscellaneous Taxation Provision Act of 1993).The above reforms all aimed at improving the standard of tax administration in Nigeria. Major reform in the history of tax administration however came in 2007 with the granting of administrative and financial autonomy to the Federal Inland Revenue Service and establishment of more effective disputes
settlement mechanisms within the system by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act. 2007 (FIRS Act). The passage of FIRS Act, was an actualization of a longtime reform started a century and a year ago precisely in 1906. For the first time in the history of tax administration in Nigeria the FIRS by the 2007 Act were empowered with various administrative and enforcement mechanisms that allow a taxpayer to assess himself for tax and empowered the FIRS to enforce payment internally through various mechanisms such as Distrain, Surcharge, Substitution, and Surtax etc. It was in the light of these reforms that this researcher carried out a study of the new reform through the FIRS Act, and analyses the various administrative and enforcement mechanisms provided by the new Act (FIRS Act) and considered their efficiency and effectiveness in improving the standard of tax administration in Nigeria. The study however found that the Act contained an unnecessary and controversial policy of centralization of tax administration, a possible reduction of powers of various States Board of Internal Revenue and other gaps in the provisions of the Act and recommended solutions by way of amendments of some provisions of the Act. which the researcher believed if implemented will go a long way in ensuring an efficient tax administration regime of our dream.

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