Nigeria loses about $15 billion  to tax evasion yearly, Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Tunde Fowler, said on Wednesday.

 

He said to check this, the country would implement the first Automatic Exchange of Information standard next year.

 

He spoke during a meeting with over 50 participant tax experts across the globe in Abuja to chart ways to combat offshore tax evasion through exchange of information regime.

 

He noted that increase in mobility of income and assets had created a challenge for tax administration and that government across the world were joining efforts to address such challenges.

 

Fowler noted that the challenges offered a global response to the issues of international tax avoidance, tax evasion, illicit financial flows, money laundering and other harmful tax practices based cooperation and use of advanced technologies to tackle the issues.

 

He said the regime was part of the country’s commitment to improve transparency in tax administration, increased tax revenue collection, and enhance effective and efficient service delivery.

 

Fowler said there was linkage between tax compliance, domestic tax investigation, tax audit, information gathering framework and the international infrastructure for exchange of information amongst authorities and nations.

 

Fowler said: “Nigeria had demonstrated her commitment to improve transparency around tax matters, when she signed a declaration and joined the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) on 17th August 2017.

 

“Furthermore, to facilitate the process of implementing the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), Nigeria published the AEOI regulations in the Official Gazette of the Federation.

 

“Finalsed and issued CRS guidelines, constructed and finished a dedicated building for the operation of the AEOI and put in place the necessary Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to operationalise the AEOI processes.

 

“Nigeria has done all these to enable us conduct the first exchange of information under the automatic exchange of information regime by September 2020.”

 

Earlier,  the Executive Secretary, West Africa Tax Administration Forum (WATAF), Mr. Babatunde Oladapo, said the body was committed to contributing to the expansion of the global tax base through exchange of information.

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