Tax Inadequate Declaration
Tuesday,21st August, 2018. 6:16:44pm

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TAX INADEQUATE DECLARATION

FINANCIAL STANDARD OCTOBER 31, 2005

 

NIGERIANS DON'T DECLARE THEIR INCOMES FOR TAX ASSESSMENT

 

THE JOURNEY SO FAR

Actually, as for as the journey is concerned, it is so far so good since I assume office as the revenue board. By the time I was appointed, I found the board in an average position. Previous leaders of the board did their best in order to make their own contribution and to leave a mark in terms of revenue generation by the board. But right now we have embarked on another strategy for improvement, through one means or the other, to better the generation of revenue by the board. Among the strategies put in place is a kind of motivation for the staff. One must have to look out for the right team, at the right time and place. These are some of the things I have to pencil down and work with.

First and foremost, I most ensure that staff welfare is guaranteed by paying their salaries regularly and promptly. I also make sure their allowances, which include overtime, among others are adequately paid and promptly too. I also went to the extent of introducing other benefiting schemes for the staff. This explains why we have improved in our performance in terms of revenue collection in the state.

Today, we are talking of billions of Naira in revenue generation for the state. In 2004, we generated more than N2 billion and this year 2005, by December this year, by the special grace of God, we would have generated N2, 5billion.

 

PEOPLE'S COMMITMENT TO TAX IN THE STATE

To my own understanding, if I can still remember, some time this year we had a national retreat in Lagos . That was the first time a national retreat was being organized for all state chairmen of boards of internal revenue in this country. The retreat also included the customs, Federal Inland Revenue, Road Safety, vehicle inspecting officers (VIO) and other parties to revenue generation for the country. It was declared opened by President Olusegun Obasanjo who was ably represented by the vice president. At the retreat, we were briefed on the way forward and how we can do better in terms of revenue generation for the nation. There were also talks on tax reformation in Nigeria . In fact, we were divided into nine or ten syndication groups whereby the various issues on tax generation and reformation were discussed. It was discovered that taxpayers feel the tax they pay is on the high side. They also believe that they system of taxation is complex and not simple for them to understand. It was further discovered that the taxpayers feel that their contribution as tax to government do not produce physical result for them to see. And then again the taxpayers were also looking at their input to governance as not meaningful, since they accuse government of not keeping promises made. These among others are some of the hiccups to tax collection in the country. I must tell you that we tried to advise government on the way forward, to enable the people to have confidence in us so as to enhance revenue generation. I am sure that in syndication like that, issues relating to tax generation. I am sure that in syndication like that; issues relating to generation were discussed in the right manner to move the country forward as far as revenue collection and tax reformation are concerned.

 

DIFFICULT TAX TO COLLECT

This issue is not only in Kaduna state, but all over the country. The direct assessment tax is a very difficult tax to collect. In this form of tax, people are expected to present themselves and their assets for verification and assessment, but they hardly come up for this. People hardly come to us to declare their incomes for tax assessment.

One finds that out of a hundred, only a person may come up for this type of tax payment. I do not know why the situation is like this. It may be because of some of the problems I highlighted so far, that people are not ready to come forward to be assessed by the relevant tax authorities, to enable them to pay up. The main source of revenue is when people come to declare their assets and they are told what to pay, but unfortunately they never want to come since they do not want to pay and that has been a major problem, of revenue generation in the area of taxation in the country.

PUNISHMENT FOR TAX DEFAULTERS

In Kaduna state, anybody who defaults would be taken to the revenue court, but we prefer the problems solved amicably through dialogue. But if we serve ou notice three times and you refuse to come up, you would be categorized as one of the defaulters in terms of taxation and the revenue court would be the last option Even at the revenue court, we still encourage settlement out of court. It is only when the tax defaulter refuses to comply that we allow the court to pass judgment either in favour of the defaulter or the revenue board.

CAN WE HAVE THE NUMBER OF CONVICTS OF THE REVENUE COURT

Actually, several organizations have been prosecuted. I still remember when we took the Kaduna Polytechnic to court and won the case. Individuals and other small organizations have also been taken to court for tax default in the state.

Since I took over in the last two years, we have won more than 30 cases and I think if my legal adviser is here, he can give us the accurate figure. I want to tell you that right now, we have more than 150 cases before the revenue court and very soon, something substantial would come out of it.


WATER RATE LEVIES

The staff is also doing fine in this area of water rate levies, this is because here in the board, we try to be responsible and responsive to our workers so that staff too must reciprocate by way of putting in their best.

I must also tell you that at the end of every month, we try to hold meetings to discuss areas of improvement and to commend areas of success and also try to map out strategies for areas of difficulty.

 

TAX CONSULTANTS

In Kaduna state, we have tax consultants, but here they play the role of an advisory body. They do not collect tax. They act as a check and balance because their earnings depend on what has been collected. There is a benchmark to this, and it is when the hard work of the staff succeeds and goes beyond certain marks that they stand to benefit certain percentage of the collection.

 

ANALYSIS OF MONTHLY COLLECTION IN THE STATE

I think here in Kaduna state we are doing well. We generate over N200 million per month and I think this is good so far.

Today, there is a lot of potential. We need to sensitize and educate people through both the print and electronic media for them to come forward to pay their taxes/

The concept of tax avoidance and tax aviation has been a major problem. People should be enlightened to come forward and pay; most especially as they are now seeing what the government of the day has on ground.

 

OBSTACLES TO PERFORMANCE

You see, it is not easy for a tax collector to go and part something from the tax payers. That has been a constraint to the board. I must tell you that even right from the primitive age, there have been the problems of tax collectors trying to make tax payers pay their taxes.

These people have never been in harmony. One tries to outsmart the other. This may be due to my earlier stated reasons, but I want to assure you that in Kaduna State, we are on course and things are already working out in the right direction as far as payment of taxes are concerned.

 

FOREIGNERS IN THE STATE

Actually, we have been inviting them to come forward and if they do not come, there is a tax force being put in place and we have to follow them company by company. Sometimes we liaise with the immigration to know who and who are in the state. Their rates differ from those in Europe, America , Asia, Africa , among other countries that pay different rates. I think security agents in Kaduna have been cooperating and we have been meeting with these people.

Membership

OLAJIDE AND ASSOCIATES is a member of BNI and a registered member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and Chartered Institute Of Taxation Of Nigeria

 

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