Lagos begins arrest, trial of tax defaulters tomorrow
As from tomorrow, the Lagos State government will begin arrest and prosecution of tax defaulters in the state.
The action, which is in consonance with Section 82 of the Personal Income Tax Act (as amended), follows the introduction of tax reforms that includes new Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit by the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS).
All tax evaders and offenders alike, upon the prosecution, may be fined or imprisoned or face both as provided in Section 95, 96 and 97 of the Personal Income Tax Act.
Under the Act, a taxable person is statutorily required to file a return of income for the preceding year within 90days from the commencement of every year of assessment (March 31st is the deadline), whilst any employer of labour is required to file all emoluments paid to its employees for the preceding year, not later than 31st of January each year.
Therefore, any taxable person or corporate organisation that fails to file the tax returns with LIRS by the stipulated date is in breach of the provisions of the law, which is a criminal offence that is punishable under the tax laws.
The LIRS, having put all the necessary machineries in place to ensure the enforcement of the tax laws with effect from April 1, 2016, has warned all erring taxpayers to comply, reiterating that the full weight of the law will be brought to bear on taxable persons who fail to file requisite returns as provided by the law.
LIRS, in a statement yesterday, said while many taxpayers had complied willingly by filing their returns in the last months, “it is disheartening to note that in spite of all efforts by the LIRS, a large fraction of eligible taxpayers are still not complying, thereby failing to contribute to the common purse for the common good of all”.