The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has urged Nigerians not to be discouraged from paying their taxes because it is their legal responsibility for the overall survival of the Country.
A Tax Consultant with FIRS, Ibrahim Maroof Ajibola appealed in an interview with newsmen on the sideline of a one-day sensitisation workshop on the Nigerian tax administration for media practitioners in Kaduna State which was organised by Afropolitan Media Limited in conjunction with FIRS.
According to him, the tax paid in one part of the country, state, or local government may be used to work in another part of the country, state, or local government because the agencies that are responsible for tax collection are different from the agencies that use the tax to work for the people based on their planning and budgeting.
“Nigerians should be reminded that we have the social aspect of tax and legal aspect of it. The legal aspect of tax means tax is a compulsory levy by the government that citizens should pay.
“The social aspect of it is that the money for the majority of the developmental project executed by the federal, state, and local governments are coming from taxes. This is why taxpayers in Nigeria are legally bound to pay their taxes and doing it means compliance with laws and regulations which will in turn benefit them because it will be used to develop the country as a whole”, he said.
He further clarified that “taxes do not expect a corresponding return to those who have paid. Unfortunately, agencies that collect taxes only collect, access, enforce and account for. They are not a part of the spending entities which is where the conflict comes in.
“The spending agency so to say are the executives. Notwithstanding, if the executives spend the money well to benefit the citizenry as we have in the past where we have qualitative free education, health, water, road, and things like that, citizens are ready to pay their taxes.
“Unfortunately, these are far from the vast majority of Nigerian geographical environment. This is what discourages people from paying taxes but from the legal aspect, it is compulsory for everybody to pay appropriate taxes”.
To him, “FIRS is doing much these days to ease tax payment for Nigerians through its sophisticated technology like Taxpromax which enables you to pay tax from the comfort of your room or office even on weekends.
“The FIRS is also taking information on taxes to the rural environment now more than before so people are aware. That means you spend less on enforcement and make more to work for the people”.
That is why the media practitioners are being sensitised on tax matters so they can break it down for people at the community level.
On her part, the Managing Director of Afropolitan Media Limited, Hajiya Aisha Umar Haliru said, the workshop achieved its aim of bringing participants up to date on current challenges faced by tax authorities like the FIRS and the importance of the media reporting these challenges ethically and responsibly in close collaboration with the FIRS and other tax bodies at the sub-national levels and for the education of the taxpaying public.
About 60 media practitioners drawn from conventional and new media platforms in Kaduna State participated in the sensitisation workshop.
Ojo Sola sent in this story from Kaduna