Lagos – Mr Olufolarin Ogunsanwo, the Chairman, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), on Tuesday, urged tax administrators to enlighten the public on the differences between taxes and rates.
Ogunsanwo made this call at a taxation round table discussion organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in Lagos.
The LIRS chairman said that many tax payer had yet to understand the differences in taxes, rates, charges and levies, the development that had been misconstrued as “multiple taxation.”
He said that the State Government was passionate about the Organised Private Sector and had implemented several policies that would create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“We take cognisance of the economic challenges prevailing in the business sector because if businesses do not thrive, from where will the State Government collect taxes,” he said.
Ogunsanwo expressed worry that Nigeria ranked 181 out of 189 countries surveyed in the 2016 World Bank’s Ease of Paying Tax.
He said the State Government had embarked on several initiatives that would make tax payment easier by reviewing the tax regulations of the state.
Ogunsanwo said that the Tax Form A, was revised from six pages to two pages for direct and self assessment with a guide, translated to English and Yoruba for ease of completion.
He said one per cent incentive for voluntary tax filing within 90 days was activated, mandated maximum 72 hours Electronic Tax Clearance Certificate (ETCC) requisition and opened three additional tax offices.
The chairman said that the State Joint Revenue Committee would harmonise taxes in the state with Local Government, when the new chairmen assumed office.
Mrs Nike Akande, the President of LCCI, said that the forum was in line with the chamber’s advocacy mandate to protect the interest of the business community by brainstorming with stakeholders on tax issues.
Akande said that “taxation has been a major source of revenue for the nation in the past decades.
“Giving the severe revenue challenges faced by government at all levels, as a result of the sharp drop in oil price, the focus of government on taxation has increased.” she said.
Akande stressed the need to situate the current drive for tax revenue and internally generated revenue (IGR) by the State Governments and ensure a balance on the issues with the tax authorities.
Mr Moshood Olajide of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said that the country’s tax contribution to GDP ratio was one of the lowest in the world.
He noted that Afghanistan was contributing 8 per cent, United Kingdom 38 per cent and France 52 per cent.
Olajide said that the federal and state revenues declined from N6.399 billion in 2014 to N5.327 billion in 2015 due to the fall in crude oil price.
He said that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) was not only taking tough measures but it would intensify its efforts to ensure tax compliance.
Olajide urged the State Governments to improve their IGR base, implement targets, review all revenue related laws and update obsolete rates and tariffs for fiscal sustainability of their states. (NAN)