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e-Governance: How digitized tax system made Lagos N25Bn richer in March

By Juliet Umeh

While businesses and companies were locking down in March, the heat of Covid-19, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, LIRS, said it generated N25 billion from e-tax.

The Director of information and communication technology, ICT, at the Lagos Internal Revenue Service, LIRS, Mr Rasheed Olu-Ajayi, who revealed this at the e-Governance Summit in Lagos, said e-tax is an enterprise tax administration system which the agency used to harmonise and digitize all their tax processes.

According to Oluwaajayi, “At the heat of Covid-19 in March, we were able to generate N25 billion for Lagos State when a lot businesses, MDAs were locked down. “And that was because, there was a payment module within our e-tax application which meant that organisations, company entities within the comfort of their homes make payment for their taxes.

“What led to the emmergency of e-tax was that before now, we had instances where some individuals who are tax payers had duplicate tax payer identifications, IDs.
Some company entities also had duplicated company IDs which meant that it was difficult to be able to say how many tax payers we have in our tax net.

“We were able to leverage the BVN to clean all the multiple payer IDs that we had in our tax net, we were able to automate all our processes from enumeration to registration, tax payment, assessment to reconciliation, tax auditing, annual return filling, report and analytics.

“So, it meant that all those processes were at the touch of the button possible for every tax payer or for every company entity in the comfort of their zones,” Olu-Ajayi said.
He also noted that e-tax wasn’t only beneficial to the agency that tax payers also have a lot to benefit.

He said: “To an instant treasury receipt that anyone can print online from making payment. Before now, once you make payment, it would have to take about three or four days before you can pick up the revenue receipt. But with e-tax, once you make payment, all most instantaneously you will be able to print your revenue receipt.

“Again, filling of annual returns is also possible now on the e-tax platform where people can at the touch of the button file the returns for their corporate entities in the comfort of their offices.
“About two years ago, there were about 1600 people within our office who were trying to file in their tax returns to avoid the late penalty fee on the 31st December.

“But with the e-tax now, all that has reduced because the last annual returns that we did, we were able to complete about 25000 companies online successfully,” Olu-Ajayi remarked.
He added that people now have more transparency, high availability of the applications 24/7 and reduced cost of governance.

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