A Director at the Lagos Inland Revenue Service (LIRS), Mrs. Shade Coker, has declared that there are no cases of multiple taxation in the nation, contrary to the widely-spread belief, alleging that people use the advantage of lack of information to spread misinformation.
Coker, who stated this during the official launch of Taxpal Nigeria, a platform that makes tax solution easy, stated that taxation in Nigeria seems cumbersome due to inadequate information about system of taxation in the country.
She said that Taxpal is the friendly tax cafe that serves taxable Nigerians and Nigerian residents with spot-on tax information contract-pay their taxes.
She said the law requires record to document all of tax deductions, Nigerians should demand payment details, report any agency without transparent transaction in order to remove the challenge of multiple taxation.
On complaints of multiple taxation, Coker said “Let me say once again that we do not really have a situation of multiple taxation. You only have multiple taxation when you pay the same tax to different tiers of government.
“What we have found out is that a lot of people categorise any payment to government as a tax.
“For example, if you receive a fine, a penalty they call it a tax. If you pay for the parking space, they call it a tax. Those are the things you refer to as user charges and not taxes.”
Also, she identified taxation of electronic-related businesses as one of the greatest challenges confronting the payment of tax in Nigeria.
Tax problem increase because this online transaction and businesses is difficult at the moment for one to capture, so their payment becomes really difficult to track.
However, she said the Federal Government has through the ministry of information and also through the Office of the Vice President have been talking about the different projects that have been financed with tax revenues and I think as Nigerians begin to see those dividends of democracy, very good spending, people will be more encouraged to pay more taxes.”
In the same vein, the Chief Operating Officer of the firm, Jide Banjo, said the government has the responsibility of being transparent and efficient with how the taxes are spent.
Tax apathy and evasion can be reduced where there is high level of transparency and visible development.
Banjo stressed the importance of taxation in any economy, which cannot be over-emphasised, noting its effects remain significant.
“It helps greatly in the redistribution of income and gives the government funds that it can use to finance public services such as provision of adequate national security, public infrastructure, social security services, power, roads network and a host of other social amenities.
“The ability of the state or in broader view, a nation to generate a substantial amount of revenue from taxes opens up opportunities for it to provide public services and improve the economy.”
He said at a recent tax stakeholder forum organised by PwC, a survey was conducted to find out why many Nigerians do not pay tax.
The result was insightful but not surprising; 70 per cent said it is because people cannot see taxpayers’ money at work, 22.5 per cent said it was due to the tax rules that are unclear and compliance process being too complex while 7.5 per cent said it is due to poor enforcement by tax authorities.
More so, Banjo stated that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently released tax collection data of all 36 states of the federation, which totaled N683.6 billion out of which Lagos state accounted for N268 billion.
Uniquely, Lagosians amongst many other states can see infrastructural advancement as dividends of their tax remittance.
“We believe that this development is only a tip of the iceberg when over 50 per cent taxable residents pay their taxes instead of the 10 million footing the bills of 77 million as earlier mentioned.
He cited the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s statement while he was speaking at the 20th annual tax conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) held in May this year, Osinbajo said, “As of May 2017, only 14 million economically-active Nigerians paid taxes. That number is now in excess of 19 million, and still growing.”
That is good news for us at Taxpal. We are charged to help increase that number exponentially he said.