Nigeria targets 700,000 firms in tax crackdown

Nigeria targets 700,000 firms in tax crackdownNigeria's tax authorities have hunted down some 700,000 companies that have never paid taxes before. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) also expects to identify 10 million individuals who will be made to pay taxes for the first time.

Reuters reports that FIRS aims to find new revenue sources to offset Nigeria's current oil slump. Low oil prices that have pushed Africa's biggest economy into its first recession in more than 20 years.

The government, struggling to fund a record $18.6 billion 2016 budget has set a substantial FIRS target for raising extra money. A new unit created at the start of the year has deployed inspectors armed with laptops to update databases. They have been registering businesses and individuals who are then tracked to check whether they have paid taxes.

International tax experts are sceptical. They expect that FIRS will have to fight a serious battle, as Nigeria is a country where "paperwork is often lacking".

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