The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is seeking the approval of the National Assembly to amend the finance act to include online/social media businesses in the nation’s tax net.
Chairman of the service, Muhammad Nami, stated this during an ongoing engagement between the Senate Joint Committees working on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, and heads of revenue generating agencies of the Federal Government.
Nami said apart from targeting the social media businesses, the proposed amendments to the Finance Act would also affect the Stamp Duty Act because some of the provisions were already obsolete.
“You are aware of the issues of digital economy and the challenges of policing the digital tax payers like Twitters and Facebook.
“So, we are going to come up with the rules and provisions that the National Assembly will passionately look at and approve for us so as to bring them to the tax net.
“We want to see a way of taxing online activities and businesses,” he said.
Nami told the senators that the Finance Bill was supposed to accompany the annual budget.
He said the agency would review feedbacks from tax payers and its internal operations so as to fix the loopholes in the tax law.
However, the Civil Society Organisations (CSO) are up in arms against the move by the FIRS, saying such amendment will jeopadise he businesses of the youth who are struggling to survive the harsh economic environment.
The CSO said the revenue service should not do anything that would affect the businesses of young Nigerians who were struggling to survive.
According to the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Auwal Rafsanjani, “There are many avenues which the FIRS can explore in order to generate income.
“The agency should not impose additional burden on young Nigerians who are just struggling to survive and making use of the social media to transact their businesses.
“The FIRS should concentrate on taxing the companies that are making profits from adverts and not individuals that subscribe to those social media platforms.
“Individuals who subscribe to those platforms and showcasing their businesses there should not be taxed. The tax should be on corporate entities that are making profits.”