IKEJA – The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said it had captured no fewer than 300,000 new tax payers in its tax net in the last one year.
Mr Bola Shodipo, Special Adviser to Gov. Babatunde Fashola on Taxation and Revenue, made the disclosure at the 2015 ministerial news conference.
He said the development meant that the number of tax payers had grown from the 4.2million recorded in 2014 to 4.5 million presently.
According to him, the new taxpayers are mainly people in the informal sector and some in the formal sector.
The Special Adviser commended residents for increasingly paying taxes voluntarily, saying the practice had enabled government to discharge its development responsibilities.
“We have made significant progress in recording greater tax compliance in the past few years.
“From 2.7million in 2011 to 4.5million taxpayers presently; this is a significant leap and government commends residents for voluntarily and promptly paying their taxes,” he said.
Shodipo, however, said no fewer than three million taxable adults were still not paying taxes, appealing to evaders to fulfil their obligations in the interest of development.
The Special Adviser said the government would continue to pursue initiatives such as enlightenment campaigns to encourage more tax compliance.
Shodipo debunked claims in some quarters that government was imposing multiple taxes on incomes and businesses.
He explained that the fact that people were levied for enjoying certain government services after their incomes had been taxed did not mean they were paying multiple taxes.
“When you are levied by LAWMA after they have collected your refuse or you are charged by government for processing your C of O, you are paying for services not taxes.
“Multiple taxation is when you are charged for the same thing at the same rate and almost at the same time. And this government has never done that,” he said.
Mr Tunde Fowler, Chairman of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) , on his part, said the service was prosecuting 686 cases of tax evasion.
He said the agency had secured approval of the courts to distrain no fewer than 376 companies for not paying taxes.
Fowler, however, said about N771million had been realised from companies in out-of-court arrangements with LIRS.
While commending companies that had promptly paid their taxes, he appealed to defaulting companies to comply for the state’s development.
Fowler said the state had been spared the embarrassment of not meeting up with its obligations because of its sound tax system.
He said when other states were owing salaries because of depleting allocations from the Federal Government, Lagos was paying workers and executing projects.
Fowler said government was strengthening the tax system to increase the present Internally Generated Revenue of N23billion on the average to a higher figure. (NAN)
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