In 2017, FIRS announced the introduction of six (6) new electronic tax services (e-services) after several years of preparation. These include e-Registration; e-Stamp duty; e-Taxpay; e-Receipt; e-Filing and e-TCC.
Why the introduction of the electronic tax services?
The government in a bid to make the tax process convenient and in line with the National Tax Policy, introduced the electronic services to ensure adequate track of taxpayers' records are kept, ease revenue collection, increase compliance levels, reduce administrative burden and improve accountability amongst others.
Of all the e-services, the e-Filing system seems to be one of the most talked about initiatives of FIRS and has received the most consultation from stakeholders.
What is e-Filing service?
E-Filing is the process by which taxpayers render select tax returns online through FIRS' Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS). The taxes covered under the e-Filing platform include:
Â· Company Income Tax (CIT)
Â· Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
Â· Tertiary Education Tax (TET)
Â· Pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) and
Â· Value Added Tax (VAT).
On the e-Filing platform, taxpayers are able to view their current balances with the tax authority i.e. how much has been remitted and how much is outstanding. This is expected to provide taxpayers with real-time access to tax records submitted with the authorities without the need to physically visit the tax office. It is also expected that the e-Filing system will be a reflection of the guiding principles under the National Tax Policy of convenience, cost-effectiveness and flexibility.
To ensure seamless use of FIRS e-Filing service, taxpayers need to keep abreast of e-Filing registration requirements.
What is the e-Filing process?
The e-Filing registration process can be completed in just three (3) step as follows:
1. Obtain an "e-Filing access application form" from any FIRS tax office or download the form from the FIRS website here e-Filing Application Form
2. Complete the form by following the instructions contained therein. The contact information provided may be that of the taxpayer or a representative such as a tax consultant. Please note that contact details to be included should be carefully thought out as vital information about the taxpayer will be readily accessible by the contact
3. Physically submit the duly completed form to FIRS after which a system generated username and temporary password will be issued. The password should be changed after first time login to the platform. This step could be completed within 24 to 72 hours.
As earlier noted, the e-Filing process is still in its infancy. Hence, taxpayers may experience hitches and possible delays while using the electronic service which are typical at the teething stage. It is therefore advisable to liaise with relevant tax offices on the appropriate mode of filing ahead of any deadline.
With the above steps and tips, dealing with the FIRS has just gotten easier and better. Therefore, fulfilling your tax obligations should no longer be a burden. Please do share your experiences or thoughts about the FIRS e-Filing system.