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About 50 Taxes Will Be Taken Down to Single Digits This Year, Says LIRS Chairman Subair

The LIRS is urging Lagos residents to file their taxes before the March 31st deadline.

The Executive Chairman of the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Ayodele Subair, has said that about forty to fifty taxes will be taken down to single digit payments, and that this will be implemented sometime during the year.

Subair revealed this in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Wednesday, where he also said that the government is looking at archaic and ancient tax laws and trying to make amendments to them.

During the interview, the chairman, when asked about any possible reforms to tax laws, said, “We are all aware that the commander in chief has appointed Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, who used to be the head honcho at Price Water House. So, there’s a committee called the Presidential Committee on Fiscal and Tax Reforms. So, they’re doing a lot of work right now trying to harmonise taxes. They’re looking at the ancient or archaic tax laws and trying to make amendments to them.

“So, we expect a lot of good news on that front for taxpayers. I’m sure they’ll be relieved to know that some of the taxes that bring the multiple taxation conversation will be dealt with. And he’s presently talking, from his interim report, he said that forty, fifty taxes will be thrown down to single digit. So, we are expecting the laws to come out sometime this year.”

The LIRS chairman then urged Lagosians to file their tax returns before the deadline that is March 31st, saying that the filing of tax returns is  “not only…  a constitutional obligation, it’s also a legal obligation, and also a moral or social obligation. It’s important that everybody files their returns before the end of the deadline.”

Explaining the process of what is to be filed, Subair said, “You’re supposed to report your global income. So basically, whether you’re in employment, or you’re in trade or vocation or some profession, you’re expected to aggregate all the incomes from all the sources and report it truthfully.”

As for those who are earning in foreign currency, the chairman said, “All residents of Lagos are supposed to report all income, whether it is local income earned or foreign income earned. Now, we have a challenge with the local Japas as they are called, and they are expected to truthfully file what they’re earning, even if it comes from offshore.”

He however revealed that there were incentives and specific types of tax returns when taxes are filed on time, saying, “When we talk about tax credit, usually, it comes by way of repayment, perhaps they’ve made certain repayments. For instance, if you have rental income and you have a tenant, your tenant is expected to withhold a certain percentage of the rent and remit on your behalf, so, that becomes a credit to you.

“Also, if you have dividends in maybe a Plc, it’s also subject to withholding tax deductions. So, you’re allowed to set that off your eventual tax liability. So, those are the sorts of incentives. There’s also the fact that if you file within good time, then you’re entitled to 1% discount off the tax payable.”

He then listed the consequences of one not filing tax returns as he said, “If you fail to file, for instance, we will take you to court. And upon conviction, you will pay a fine of N50,000. Also, we can go the other route and do a best of judgement assessment on you. Usually, the best of judgement is based on probably what you filed the previous year, and when we issue that assessment notice against you, you have 30 days to respond, to pay, and if you don’t pay, we can go to a law court. And we don’t need to go to an open court, all we need to do is to go into the chambers of the judge, and once we lay all the records before him, we are likely to get that judgement against you. So, it’s not a good thing to be on the wrong side of the law.”

The LIRS chairman then, when asked about privacy rights of customers, said, “Well, that’s very robust, because as a responsible organization, we subscribe to the NDPR- Data Privacy Act, and all data within our confines are treated as highly confidential. And this is a point we constantly, during our training with officers, we over emphasize this point, it’s got to be confidential.

“People have got to be able to come and tell the state that these are the economic activities that I’ve been involved in and this is the income that I’ve earned. And if they do not feel that they’re acting in a confidential way, it may deter some people from coming. So, confidentiality is key. And we have audits on data protection, and we have an annual audit, and we have to be certified. We have a data protection officer who is assigned specifically to ensure that confidentiality is maintained at all levels.”

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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