Title: A Review of Effective Tax Regime in Nigeria
Author: Tunde Ogunsakin
Number of pages: 141
Of a truth, one area that Nigerian government has not been able to explore as a means of survivor is its tax regime and administration. Again, one area where the public needs a lot of enlightenment is tax management and its dividends.
What is tax? Who should pay tax? How can government agents effectively prevail over tax evaders? All these and more have found plausible responses in this review.
The book, A Review Of Effective Tax Regime In Nigeria, written by Tunde Ogunsakin, former Assistant Inspector General of Police, is a comprehensive compendium that literarily diagnosed all the basic information that one needs to know about taxation. The book gives a deep insight into the effective tax regime in Nigeria as well as making recommendations aimed at paving way for a flourishing tax regime that will drive a formidable economic growth and development in Nigeria.
As a member of the panel of Education Tax, known as The Federal Government Panel On Education Tax constituted on January 3, 2000 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the incredible detective and erudite scholar, Ogunsakin uses his immense experience through the activities of the panel in the making of the book.
According to Black’s Law Dictionary, as quoted by the author, tax is “a charge by the government on the income of an individual, corporation, or trust as well as on the value of an estate or gifts. The Chambers Dictionary defines tax as a contribution to revenue exacted by the state from individuals or businesses, a burden, drain, or strain. It is also defined as compulsory contribution towards a country’s expenses raised by the government from people’s salaries, property and from the sale of goods and services. Tax is equally defined as a compulsory contribution to the support of government on persons, property, income, commodities, transactions and services at a fixed rate mostly proportionate to the amount on which the contribution it levied.
Backed with empirical data, his emphasis hinges on Colonial Era and the introduction of taxation in Nigeria. The Raisman Fiscal Commission’s recommendation of 1958 was critically appraised in tandem with resource distribution/allocation in Nigeria. Readers will be riveted with the author’s style and the information shared in the book.
The author noted however that though it is the obligation of the government to impose tax, it also has its limitations. He says government can only levy taxes on income accruing in Nigeria.
Historically, according to the author, government has the obligation to provide both social and security amenities for the general well-being of the society, the obligation could however be discharged from tax generated revenue.
He traces the subject of colonialism and the introduction of taxation in Nigeria where Royal Niger Company introduced custom duties in the Southern Nigeria because of its sea but could not do same in the North because it doesn’t have the sea. But after amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates, the Royal Niger Company realized that the money generated from custom duties, an indirect tax from the south was not taking enough care of colonial administration. It was forced to look into other forms of taxation to sustain its vision.
The book extensively explained different types of taxes such as company’s income tax, personal income tax, education tax, capital gains tax, petroleum profit tax, value added tax, withholding tax, stamp duties among others.
As a veritable expert, he dwells on tax law and policy, reviewing the composition of FIRS, state board of Inland Revenue and major stakeholders in the Nigerian tax system.
The author also discusses the various problems of taxation in Nigeria. He makes a clear distinction between tax avoidance and tax evasion. Statistically, Ogunsakin reveals the extent of tax avoidance and evasion in Nigeria, enumerating the reasons for tax avoidance and evasion.
The author diplomatically explains the problems of delayed, converted or diverted tax payers’ fund by collecting banks.
One of the most informative parts of the book is chapter four where the author unravels the mystery behind tax enforcement processes and procedures in Nigeria. He states that taxes are charged in accordance with the provision of the law, thus enforcement proceedings could be described as steps taken under the statures to enforce payment or tax where a taxpayer defaults. The tax authority, according to him, must take utmost care to ensure that the person sought to be taxed is not one who is exempted from paying tax, though it is left to the taxpayer to claim applicable deductions and reliefs.
Ogunsakin’s book has come at a time when tax evasion seems to be on the rise and there is therefore the need to embark on a robust capacity building drive in the area of tax collection strategies by tax authorities and enlightenment campaign to encourage the Nigerian populace and institutions top pay tax.
The book will be a great asset to lawyers, researchers, undergraduates, police officers, law enforcement officers and persons in the specialised area of Tax Administration in Nigeria.
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