FollowTaxes is a platform that educates taxpayers on their rights and obligations around budget and how taxes are administered, in Sub-Saharan Africa. The platform simplifies all taxes information and the processes of payment to the common citizen and emerging entrepreneurs, who cannot afford a tax consultant thereby increasing access to information. The platform empowers emerging entrepreneurs through an all-inclusive training on record keeping and following taxes equipping them with the knowledge to start and stay in business without falling victims of corruption that may end their business before they even start. Additionally, the volunteers host an interactive page ln the website for direct questions and answers; conduct a continuous radio program and handbills to reach local communities where internet is a deficit, and host a dashboard on the website to show how much is generated through tax revenue. We work to the improve the business environment in Nigeria by filling in information gaps, using simple tweets, explanations, infographics and pictures to define the basic taxes; display how much is collected and remitted to the government so far; define basic tax payment processes and procedures. We work in line with the Nigeria National Action plan of the open government partnership. Followtaxes currently sit on the table as a CSO in the National Action Plan.
The opaque circle and the lack of simplicity in legal terms that guide budgeting, and taxation and other fiscal process makes it an alien to a common man. These situations gave corrupt tax officials, quacks and tax fraudsters the room to create a series of corrupt acts that characterize the tax collection and administration bodies today. As a result, we are poised with questions like: How do we open the system and encourage participation? How do we simplify the processes of taxation and build capacity of start-up entrepreneurs? How do we follow the taxes collected to ensure that there is transparency in the funds collected? These questions we hope to answer through effective citizen engagement.
Our goals and vision are guided by our believe that insufficient fiscal transparency in taxation undermine citizens’ confidence in their governments’ ability to get taxpayers to pay their taxes and may deprive governments of revenues needed to mitigate poverty and work towards a sustainable development.