In the first decade of 20th century in Northern Nigeria, the High Commissioner of the then Northern Protectorate, Sir Fredrick Lugard issued the Stamp Duties proclamation in 1903 and followed it with the Native Revenue Proclamation in 1906.
Following the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914, the colonial Government re-issued the Native Revenue Ordinance 1917.
In 1943 when the Nigerian Inland RevenueDepartment, the precursor to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, was carvedout of the Inland Revenue Department of British West Africa. The InlandRevenue Department was renamed the Federal Board of Inland Revenue under the Income Tax Ordinance No.39 of 1958.
In 1961 the Companies and Income Tax Act No.22 of 1961 established the Federal Board of Inland Revenue, FBIR. CITA 1961 also established the Body of Appeal Commissioners (BAC) as the first point of call in the resolution of disputes between taxpayers and the board concerning assessment and payment of tax. The Income Tax Management Act 1961 created the Joint Tax Board (JTB) and charged it, primarily, to ensure uniformity of standards and application of Personal Income Tax in Nigeria.
In 1993, the Finance (Miscellaneous Taxation provisions) Act No.3 of 1993 and Decree 104 of 1993 were passed.While Decree 3 reviewed the composition of the FBIR, Decree 104, amongother things, reviewed the functions of the Joint Tax Board.
In 2002, Professor Dotun Phillip led a team of eminent Nigerians to diagnose the Nigerian Tax system. Their work was further reviewed by the Working Group led by Mr. Seyi Bickersth in 2003. The implementation of the distilled essence of these group reports began in 2004.
In 2007, FIRS got financial and administrative autonomywith thepassage of the Federal Inland Revenue Service(establishment) Act 2007.
FIRS has since witnessed organisational restructuring, the enactment of a National Tax Policy, improved funding, legislation, strongertaxpayer education, dispute resolution mechanism, taxpayer registration and the introduction of the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), human capacity building, automation of key process, refund mechanism, attention to Double Taxation Agreements (DTA) and the automation of the operations of the service.The need to develop the non-oil tax as a sustainable source of funding national development also gained momentum. By 2016 and in collaboration with other agencies like CAC, CBN, OAGF and JTB had registered 814,000 new corporate taxpayers. By mid-2018, it had, working in conjunction with State Internal Revenue Service, (SIRSs) pushed the National Tax Roll, to about 19 million.
Other key achievements from 2015 to date include:
- Developed and deployed 6 e-solutions to ease tax payment and make payment of taxes, easy, convenient anytime, anywhere, 24/7. Taxpayers are also allowed to file at the FIRS offices nearest to them;
- Extended automation of VAT-Auto collect from Aviation to other key sectors like, Oil and Gas, Banks and the Financial institutions, Telecommunication, Power and the tourism sectors;
- Implemented a tax amnesty programme that waived interest and penalty of defaulting taxpayers which netted N68 billion;
- Co-implemented the (Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme, VAIDS, co-initiated with the Federal Ministry of Finance and received over 5000 applications under the Scheme. It resulted in voluntary declaration of over N92 billion liability with over N34.63 billion paid so far by companies
- Strengthened the tax audit function of FIRS that led to the recovery of over N35.65 billion;
- Improved 22% on the collection of 2016(N3.3trillion) by collecting N4.03 trillion in 2017 even with the crude oil price hovering at an average of $50 per barrel. By August 2018, FIRS has collected N1 trillion, above its 2017 collection. By October 2018 FIRS has collected N4. 3 trillion;
- Received several awards, including the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) adjudged FIRS online Stamp Duty portal as the Best Innovation in Tax Administration on the African continent in 2016;
- In 2016, the FIRS Chairman was named as ATAF Chairman in 2016. He was re-elected ATAF Chairman in 2018;
- In 2017, Fowler’s contributions to tax administration and development, contributed to his appointment by the United Nations as a member of the International Committee of Tax Experts. The Executive Chairman, FIRS is the committee’s first Vice-Chairman.