….. Demand creation of Tax Tribunal for Proper Monitoring
The taxpayers in Ekiti state have lamented what they described as lack of properly harnessing taxes being paid by the informal sectors in providing good governance. This comes as an expert advocated the establishment of tax Appeal Tribunal in the state for proper monitoring and utilization of the taxes for the benefit of the people.
The submissions form part of the outcome of an engagement with the informal sector at the weekend ,organized by the New Initiative for Social Development (NISD) in collaboration with the Nigerian Situation Room on “Improving Governance Through Tax for Service in Ekiti State” in partnership with UK International Development.
The program was harnessed to
sensitize the tax payers about the need to engage government and monitor the utilization of taxes and as well to unravel the challenges in the area and alert the government on necessary step .
A resource person at the parley and a Deputy Director Commercial & Corporate Law at the State Ministry of Justice, Mr Adedayo Eniola Arogundade who advocated the establishment of the State Tax Appeal Tribunal in Ekiti state stated that such is necessary to enable the Tax payers lodge complaint and get justice.
At the end of the parley a steering group consists the taxpayers from informal sectors emerged. The group under the aegis of the ‘Tax for Service Group’ has the responsibility of making government accountable on the taxes and educate the payers on the reason and necessity in the payment.
The group however lamented ‘double, multiple and uncertainty taxation by the State Government, added the adverse effect on the masses and business owners is grievous.
Speaking with newsmen, the group’s Chairman, Prof Christopher Oluwadare said his team would ensure Proper monitoring of government activities and also collaborate to identify and stop tax leakages.
Oluwadare who was represented by the Tax for Service Group Secretary, Akin Abimbola, said that stakeholders at the informal sectors are facing the challenges of double taxation and multiple taxation.” I want to tell you that all of the informal sector pays direct tax, not only direct tax, we are paying withholding taxes, my section (hoteliers) are paying about three different taxes and about 12 other charges and levies to the government. Aside from that, we pay directors’ tax, we pay consumption tax.
“This is part of the grey area which we will sit with the government to ensure if the tax payers are given conducive 8888 and there is no provision for double or multiple taxation, definitely they will be eager to pay and they will definitely be able to pay if they could see what the government is doing with it.
“If a hotel pays so much as tax and there are no good roads to the hotel, no light, no infrastructure that can make development of the business, which is the reason why we are coming up.
“The informal sector pays taxes, charges, levies. As a matter of fact, most of the laws that are coming out from Ekiti State House of Assembly are not the target of the formal sector, they are actually targeting the informal sector to extract and get funds as their means of IGR. If we get all these appeals together, we will definitely know that the higher percentage of revenues to the government purse is coming from the informal sector. We need and deserve a special waiver.
“We will be out there not just to query them, but to at the same time educate members on the reasons why tax needs to be paid. From the stakeholders meeting before we arrived at the formulation of this group, we have been able to educate that tax payment is statutory.
“This group will also stand to condemn and to stand against double taxations, multiple taxations and uncertainty in the payments of tax.”
A resource person ,Arogundade while advocating establishment of the State Tax Appeal Tribunal to enable Tax payers lodge complaint and get justice said that Tax Authorities must educate the taxpayers on the nature of taxes and levies being collected in the best language they understand to make the collection easy and voluntary.
“There should be uniformity in all State Laws and National Acts so that the issue of multiplicity of taxes and double taxation will be curbed. I am aware that EKIRS is working on a harmonized billing system for the taxpayers, it will also in a long way ease the tension on the Taxpayer.
“Considerable exemptions should be given to certain individuals and businesses who meet specific requirements to aid economic growth in the overall interest of Ease of doing business initiative of the Federal Government.” Arogundade stated.