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CSOs knock FIRS over proposed social media tax

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CSOs knock FIRS over proposed social media tax

Civil Society Organisations have condemned the Federal Inland Revenue Service over its decision to impose taxes on social media activities.

The FIRS is currently seeking the approval of the National Assembly to further amend the Finance Act for the purpose of dragging online businesses on the social media to its tax net.

The chairman of the agency, Muhammad Nami, stated this during an ongoing engagement between the Senate Joint Committees working on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, and heads of revenue generating agencies of the Federal Government.

Nami said apart from targeting the social media businesses, the proposed amendments to the Finance Act would also affect the Stamp Duty Act because some of the provisions were already obsolete.

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He said, “You are aware of the issues of digital economy and the challenges of policing the digital tax payers like Twitters and Facebook.

“So, we are going to come up with the rules and provisions that the National Assembly will passionately look at and approve for us so as to bring them to the tax net.

“We want to see a way of taxing online activities and businesses.”

But reacting to the proposal, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Auwal Rafsanjani, cautioned the revenue agency against doing anything that would affect the businesses of young Nigerians who were struggling to survive.

Rafsanjani said, “There are many avenues which the FIRS can explore in order to generate income.

“The agency should not impose additional burden on young Nigerians who are just struggling to survive and making use of the social media to transact their businesses.

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“The FIRS should concentrate on taxing the companies that are making profits from adverts and not individuals that subscribe to those social media platforms.

“Individuals who subscribe to those platforms and showcasing their businesses there should not be taxed. The tax should be on corporate entities that are making profits.”

Also, the founding Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre,

Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, described the move as another plot to shut the social media against the people.

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