1.1 Background to the Study
In recent times, the incessant militancy in the Niger Delta and falling global price of crude oil and oil revenue shifted the attention of the government and major stakeholders in Nigeria to other sources of revenue generation. One of the ways the government generates revenue is through taxation. Taxation is a system used to raise money for the purpose of government by means of contributions by individual persons or corporate bodies. Tax administration therefore involves all the principles and strategies adopted by any government in order to plan, impose, collect, account, control and coordinate the process of taxation (Ogbonna 2010).
Again, Governments and organizations worldwide are increasingly recognizing the need to facilitate access to public services through information exchange using Information and Communications Technology (ICT).The role of information and communication Technology (ICT) has been growing in the economic and social life in the 21st century. It is now a fact as evidenced by developments from many countries that ICT as a sector can contribute greatly to the national GDP of a nation and that ICT, acting as an enabler, can result in improved market competitiveness of a nation‟s products and services (Uvaneswaran & Mellese,2016). ICT can impact positively on governance and other sectors of the economy.
It can effectively assist international economic integration, improve living standards, narrow the digital divide and improve biodiversity utilization and management. According to Adamu (2001), Information and communication technology (ICT) has become very important to national growth and development. The adoption of ICT requires a business environment encouraging open competition, trust and security, interoperability and standardization and financial resources (Uvaneswaran &Mellese,2016). This requires the implementation of sustainable measures to improve access to the Internet and telecommunications infrastructure and increase ICT literacy, as well as development of local Internet-based content. Thus, ICT has been employed in many sectors of the Nigerian economy such as pensions, land registry, security administration, public financial management and tax administration.
Information and communication technology involves sending and receiving messages through electronic devices such as web portals, internet, inters witch, telnet and telecommunication. The recent globalization of information and communication technology has made business organizations, companies, individuals and government parastatals change from the manual way of communication to electronic means. With the advent of information and communication technology, it became imperative for tax administrators to take advantage of the emerging capabilities created by Information and Communication Technology to enhance tax administration. With the expansion in scope of operations and growth of businesses in the Nigerian economy, the Nigerian tax system embarked on several reforms geared towards enhancing tax administration.
Some of the reforms include organizational restructuring of the Federal and State authorities, the enactment of a National Tax policy, reforms in funding, legislation, tax payer education, human capacity building and automation of Tax administration. In its bid to simplify and ease tax payment process and increase revenue generation, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) launched the electronic filing (e-filing) platform. Prior to automation of tax administration, there used to be a time when payment of tax was diverted or converted at the collecting banks, reconciliation of accounts took an inordinate amount of time due to manual processes and a time when taxpayers had to carry enormous amounts of cash in order to fulfil their tax obligations (Usman 2013).
EFFECT OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) ON TAX ADMINISTRATION IN FEDERAL INLAND REVENUE SERVICE