A few days ago, the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) released a Public Notice informing the public about its plans to merge its LASG-EBS Taxpayers Identification Digit (PID) with the nationwide Tax Identification Number (TIN).
The Public Notice stated that the Bank Verification Number (BVN) of taxpayers will be required before the LASG-EBS platform can be accessed for all tax transactions such as registration and creation of Payer ID for new taxpayers, payment of taxes and validation of taxpayer’s profile, etc.
Self-employed individuals were enjoined to provide their BVN to the LIRS in order to assist in the creation of PID and required corporate organisations to ensure that their employees who qualify for tax clearance card include their BVN in individual e-TCC forms.
Finally, the Public Notice assured the tax paying public of the safety, security and strict confidentiality of all data/ information in LIRS custody.
What this means in English
First, LASG-EBS means the Lagos State Government Electronic Banking System which is a new tax administration system of the LIRS. LASG-EBS PID is the unique code issued by the LIRS to taxpayers resident in Lagos, while the TIN is a unique code issued by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to individuals and corporate entities for Taxpayers in Lagos.
So, the TIN and the PID are like names. As my name, your name and the name of your friend, are unique means of identifying ourselves so also the TIN – issued by the FIRS and the PID – issued by the LIRS, are Tax Names, unique to each taxpayer whether individual or company, for the purpose of remitting taxes, etc.
Now the LIRS announces to the public, through the notice, that it would merge Lagos’s PID with the TIN which is issued to taxpayers nationwide. This is all for bringing about ease of doing business which is important to further the friendly relations between Lagos State Government and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
There is no doubt that the plans for integration make a lot of sense. It would reduce the existing situation of multiplicity of taxes because a Lagos taxpayer would have a single identity with both revenue services which makes for better administration of taxes. If other states join the integration, Nigeria’s ranking on the Ease of PayING Taxes could potentially increase.
Commendable as the move may be, there must be a strategy to enable the citizens ease into the second part of the move which is the compulsory requirement that citizens BVN must be connected to every tax payer ID. The default concern every entrepreneur, employee, corporate body, etc, would have would be to know the extent to which the tax authority can monitor and act on their financial activities.
The integration process will in any event facilitate seamless sharing of taxpayer’s data between the revenue authorities, eliminate multiple payer id, ease tax payment and make tax registration simple and convenient.
Eniola Akinoso is the initiator of the TaxVille and an associate with the Tax Department at Olaniwun Ajayi LP. She is passionate about Tax.