Deloitte sees au­toma­tion trans­form­ing tax ad­min­is­tra­tion in Nige­ria

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - BUSINESS - By Adeyemi Ade­pe­tum

EX­PERTS in tax ad­min­is­tra­tion have said au­toma­tion will trans­form taxes for com­pa­nies and reg­u­la­tors in the very near fu­ture, as tech­nol­ogy is ex­pected to im­pact sat­is­fac­tion level pos­i­tively.

Cit­ing a new study con­ducted by Deloitte, the ex­perts be­lieve the next five years could be sig­nif­i­cant for many or­gan­i­sa­tions, as the pro­fes­sional en­vi­ron­ment be­comes al­most over­whelmed by rapid change, with in­creased de­mand on prac­ti­tion­ers’ time and en­ergy. As a re­sult, they urged the Fed­eral In­land Rev­enue Ser­vice (FIRS) to carry out more dig­i­tal-based re­forms.

Head, In­ter­na­tional Tax, FIRS, Matthew Gbon­jubola, at a Tax Break­fast Di­a­logue, or­gan­ised by Deloitte in La­gos, ad­mit­ted that some progress had been made through dig­i­tal­is­ing sig­nif­i­cant as­pect of tax ad­min­is­tra­tion in Nige­ria.

For in­stance, pri­mary tax leg- is­la­tion is be­ing re­viewed to have a sin­gle tax ad­min­is­tra­tion law. FIRS has also com­menced the pub­lish­ing of a coun­try-by-coun­try reg­u­la­tion re­port as well as other tax guide­lines that have helped ease the prob­lem of clar­ity around tax man­age­ment in the coun­try.

“We are mod­ernising and in­tro­duc­ing tech­nol­ogy in tax re­forms to plug rev­enue leak­ages,” Gbon­jubola added.

How­ever, some stake­hold­ers be­lieve the tax reg­u­la­tor is not do­ing enough to re­duce the chal­lenges com­pa­nies face with re­gards to com­pli­ance. Hence, au­tomat­ing ev­ery step in the tax process could go a long way in re­mov­ing the bot­tle­necks.

Au­toma­tion is also seen as the way for­ward for com­pa­nies that in­tend to ef­fi­ciently plug ev­ery leak­age. “With the in­creas­ing reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment, penal­ties are go­ing to be a given,” Yomi Olug­benro, Part­ner and West Africa Tax leader, Deloitte, said dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion. “Hence, com­pa­nies can­not be look­ing at mak­ing money and al­low­ing leak­ages. They need to lever­age tech­nol­ogy; be­cause that is the only way you can be ac­cu­rate and avoid time wast­ing.”

Mark Freer, Dig­i­tal Leader, Africa Tax and Le­gal, Deloitte, Mark Freer, high­lighted five dig­i­tal trends that will de­fine the fu­ture of tax and the le­gal pro­fes­sion.

First, is big data, for or­gan­i­sa­tions and au­thor­i­ties to be­gin to crit­i­cally an­a­lyse the data in their pos­ses­sion and to lever­age the in­sights for bet­ter tax ser­vices. Sec­ond, is the process au­toma­tion, which re­quires ro­botic au­toma­tion and in­te­gra­tion of fi­nan­cial and other sys­tems. Third is de­ci­sion-mak­ing, as ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence is in­te­grated in com­pli­ance and con­sult­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

The fourth trend is democrati­sa­tion of knowl­edge. More peo­ple are gain­ing ac­cess to large in­for­ma­tion as re­sult of the dif­fer­ent new chan­nels that are now spring­ing up.

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