How government can improve collection of taxes, by CITN

Tunde Fowler

Federal Government’s effort to ensure that taxes are paid in the country would only be realised if revenues collected were used to provide amenities and improve the people’s wellbeing.

The Chattered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) stated this yesterday at a training workshop for tax professionals in the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), organised by the Ministry of Finance in Enugu.

CITN President, Cyril Ikemefuna Ede said Nigerians lost interest in paying their taxes because tax revenues usually ended up in private pockets.

Speaking, the executive chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Tunde Fowler, said government was determined to ensure that Nigerians pay their taxes, as part of their obligation to the country, assuring that it would be effectively used.

He argued that with a six per cent tax compliance, Nigeria was the lowest tax paying country globally, stressing that the development prompted the establishment of the VAIDS to sensitise Nigerians to enable them regularise their tax status.

The scheme, which runs for nine months from July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 would benefit tax payers who use the period to declare previously undisclosed assets and income as they are not charged interest and penalties.

FIRS assured that they would also not face criminal prosecution for tax offences.

Ede said: “I am sure that if government turns out to do better things, people will start paying taxes.”

“Government must ensure that the ones they pay are used and people see the positive effects of the taxes they pay. They pay 51 per cent in Finland and people are happy to pay because they have everything they want.

“But people pay their taxes and government do nothing good with the revenue, and so they do not see the need to continue to pay.”

He said Nigerians paid taxes effectively during the colonial era, because they were seeing the effect of their taxes, adding that each councilor was responsible to ensure that taxes were collected and people paid freely “but when oil money came, the whole thing slowed down and even the government was not even interested in paying taxes and everybody went his way.”

Ede stated that the workshop was designed to enlighten Nigerians on the need to pay tax, stressing that lack of awareness was part of the challenge faced in the country’s tax system.

Fowler, who was represented by the Coordinator for Enugu and Ebonyi states, Gbolaga Oshiga, stated that government would ensure that the burden of payment was not high on the people, stressing that the workshop was organised to improve enlightenment on government’s efforts, among others.

In this article:
CITNCyril IkemefunaVAIDS
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