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Thursday, May 12, 2022

FIRS seeks collaboration within African countries to effectively tax digital businesses

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has called for improved collaboration among countries with the aim of exploring alternative rules that will enable market jurisdictions, particularly African countries to effectively tax digital businesses.

This was stated during a presentation by the Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Muhammad Nami last Friday at a Technical Assistance Programme organized by African Tax Administrators’ Forum’s (ATAF) with the theme “Member’s Needs and How To Broaden the Collaboration,” held in Lomé, Togo.

Mr. Nami noted that although some African countries had endorsed the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Inclusive Framework’s global solution on the tax challenges of the digitalized economy, Nigeria continues to maintain its position that the outcome will not be favorable to African countries.

According to him, “Nigeria continues to hold the view that the outcome will produce very minimal revenue comfort for African countries. This is instructive considering the implementation challenges that developing jurisdictions will face due to the complexity of the Pilar 1 and 2 rules.”

The OECD’s new tax deal set out in 2021 has two pillars. The first pillar says that if a company has a global turnover of more than 20 billion euros and a profit margin of more than 10 percent, then 20-30 percent of the profit in excess of 10 percent of revenue will be allocated to market jurisdictions using a revenue-based allocation key.

The second pillar sets a global minimum tax rate of (at least) 15%.

“Our analysis continues to show that the possible cost of administering and implementing the complex rules will far outweigh the expected revenue accruing from its implementation,” Mr. Nami said.

“I therefore urge the African Tax Administrators Forum to join the discussion at the UN Tax Committee of Experts, South Centre, as well as collaborate with all other well-meaning stakeholders to explore alternative rules that will enable African countries to effectively subject the digital businesses and base eroding payments to tax in our jurisdictions.

“These collaborations should extend to other rules developed and implemented at the international level for the taxation of Multinational Enterprises, such as the tax treaty, exchange of information and transfer pricing rules.” Mr. Nami stated.

He further called for the African Tax Administrators Forum to collaborate with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to explore opportunities for Africa within the programme’s Tax for Sustainable Development Goals Initiative, to ensure that African countries are able to generate appreciable revenue to fund the Sustainable Development Goals.

While discussing the needs of the West African region that require Technical Assistance of ATAF, the chairman of FIRS noted that there was need for capacity building of members in respect of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Actions by Multinational Corporations, as well as on the taxation of the digital economy.

“It is crucial for the ATAF Technical Assistance to look towards improving the capacity of member country’s tax administration, through the digitisation of operations. Also, critically needed by tax authorities in the West African region is the development of Data Analytics intelligence expertise and the use of research tools that are required for taxation in a modern economy,” he highlighted.

Mr. Nami further urged the African Tax Administrators Forum to organise peer-to-peer knowledge sharing sessions between beneficiaries of the Technical Assistance programmes, while also intensifying on its technical assistance on international tax rules, particularly in the areas of tax treaties, transfer pricing, and exchange of information.

The African Tax Administrators Forum Technical Assistance (ATAF-TA) Programme aims at helping members build sustainable and efficient tax systems while achieving its strategic plans to increase domestic resource mobilisation, target the development of African expertise and support Africa’s effective voice in the international tax environment.

Source: premium times

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