Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Over 30,000 companies in Kaduna State do not pay their taxes, with the few that do paying less than their dues, says the Chairman, Kaduna State Internal Revenue Services (KADIRS), Zaid Abubakar.
He decried the failure of the northern state’s 23 local government areas to remit the backlog of remittances of Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) and withholding taxes between 2013-2014, while plans have been concluded to audit their 2015-2018 financial years.
The Chairman made the remarks on Monday while playing host to a group of civil society organisations under Tax Justice and Governance Platform, which was formed in September with an interest in tax reform in Kaduna State.
The leader of that team, Barrister Rebecca Sako-John, had briefed the KADIRS head on the objectives and areas of concern of the group, which include sensitising people on their responsibility on tax and what they should expect in return; and campaigning for fair tax in the state by way of partnership with the agency.
“One of the key issues we want to address,” she said, is “that of duplication of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR); we want to see the possibility of maintaining a quarterly publication of tax collected in the State so people can understand and begin to appreciate the need to pay their taxes. It is cheaper and easier to publish it online.”
She added that the “campaign for tax for justice is another thing we want to see. We want to see a situation, for example, when the market people pay their taxes, can we see them having good toilet facilities they can see which will, in turn, improve and encourage prompt payment of taxes.”
Responding, Abubakar thanked the team and expressed the readiness of his agency to work with the group on tax justice in Kaduna, Kafanchan and Zaria.
“In the last few months we have been in office, we have been coming up with innovations to improve our tax system in Kaduna State, and by the time our website comes up we shall be uploading our reports,” he said.
“We are looking at the possibility of starting to upload our report online by the first quarter of 2020.
“We want to be the first state in Nigeria where people can have access to their tax clearance within 48 hours, so far they pay their taxes correctly. We are also upgrading our clients side to make it possible for them to access their tax identification number (TIN) online.
On tax for service he said, “People are not paying taxes. For example, if we put it [in a scale of] 1-10, Kaduna is not even in 4. We are going to do a lot of awareness and we may upgrade to enforcement which is captured in the tax laws.”
On duplication of tax between the local and state government he said, “InterSwitch has been engaged and they have promised us that there won’t be issue around reconciliation because each LG has a mobile agent which enables both the LG and state to know what they have generated.
“2013-2014 liability is still hanging on all the 23 LGs. All LGs have a backlog of remittances of PAYE and withholding taxes.
“We are also going to serve them notice of audit of their 2015-2018. If they fail to comply, we will go to Abuja and deduct what they are owing us direct from the source.
“Another issue here is that more than 30,000 companies in Kaduna, Kafanchan and Zaria don’t pay their taxes, and some of them that do, they only pay a meagre amount,” he said.