ONITSHA – The Justice of Peace and Development Commission, Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha, has called on the Anambra government to evolve an effective tax structure to check multiple taxation in the state.
The commission, through Rev Fr Edwin Udoye, it’s Executive Director, made the call at a stakeholders’ dialogue on tax administration themed “Tax Justice Advocacy” in Onitsha on Tuesday.
The forum had in attendance, representatives of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Board of Internal Revenue, civil society groups, delegates from markets, and entrepreneurs among others.
“Tax justice I will simply say is the collection of taxes from payers according to their ability to pay and utilising it for the purpose of providing essential amenities in line with social contract.
“Nevertheless, we have noticed with dismay, the process of tax collection in the state; in some cases it’s crude and uncivilised.
“Often, tax agents in the state or in the local government engage some cabals or touts and hooligans to brutalise, intimidate and indiscriminately harass innocent citizens.
“Therefore, as a way forward, I will ask that government set up a task force that will involve people with integrity and honesty and also advocate that they should have a tax complaint commission or office in the state and local government.
Mr Emma Okeke, Secretary of Street Traders and Artisans Association, Nkpor, said their members had been severally harassed, exploited and molested by different groups who claimed to be agents of the government. [eap_ad_2] Okeke said the tax system was exploitative and was becoming a great disincentive to entrepreneurship.
He called on the state government to streamline it and educate the people on what taxes were to be paid, how much to pay and where to pay them.
In his speech, Mr Shonde Ifedayo, the Controller, Onitsha FIRS Office, who encouraged taxpayers to engage approved tax consultants, said the operations of the FIRS was a good example for the state and council tax administrators to follow.
Ifedayo, who was represented by Mr Daniel Daria, said FIRS was not known to t intimidate or harass tax payers or collect cash as the body had made the process easy for stakeholders.
He pointed out that it was not right to subject taxpayers to unnecessary cruelty.
He noted that the mode of tax collection was very clear. He explained that tax payers must demand to know what they are paying for and with information about designated banks for collection.
“Tax officials should not go to payers to collect tax or mount road block, or seize properties. They should go and remind them of the accounting year end and advise them to go and pay”, he said. (NAN) [eap_ad_3]