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Nigerians to show evidence of tax payment before the could obtain passports

By The Rainbow
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The Federal Government will soon begin to bar Nigerian citizens who have no evidence of tax payment from travelling abroad. The indication came on Monday when the  Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Tunde Fowler,  said Nigerians would soon  be made to show evidence of tax  payment before  they could obtain passports.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that Fowler said this at the 136th meeting of the Joint Tax Board which had the theme, “Increased Inter-Agency Co-operation to Enhance Tax Compliance and Optimise Revenue Collection,'' in Abuja.

He also announced that Nigerians who either wanted a new passport or renew an old one must show evidence of being a tax-payer.

He said, “We did take a position and I believe it would be implemented in the very near future that before you get any services from the immigration department: renewal of passports etc, you'd have to show that you are a tax payer. These things are normal all over the world and it would help us to serve Nigerians and Nigeria better.

“People believe that payment of tax is a burden and I'll repeat that you only pay tax on income and profits. So, if you reside in Nigeria and you are benefiting from being a Nigerian resident, it is only fair that you contribute to the system that makes you enjoy that standard of living.''

Fowler also added that the FIRS set a target to increase the individual taxpayer data base by 10 million by December 31, this year.

“I'm glad with our co-operation; we've been able to attain 30 per cent of that. We've been able to get three million individual taxpayers across the nation,” he said. “I'd like to congratulate Kano State for leading the pack by increasing the database by 944,000 followed by Lagos with 306,000 then Kaduna and Plateau.''

When asked by newsmen what he meant by citizens paying VAT on international passport, Fowler said every good and service except from items that are not VATABLE has to be charged VAT.

“What I can tell you is that as we move forward, as you obtain services from government they will ask you to show evidence of tax payment.”