The Lagos Internal Revenue Service has warned tax evaders in the state, saying that the service would wield the stick on defaulters who insist on shortchanging the state government.
Seyi Alade , Director, Legal Services, LIRS, gave the warning during a state-wide tax law enforcement exercise by LIRS in Lagos.
He said that LIRS was deploying an aggressive approach to ensure that all taxes are collected to help the state carry out its developmental projects for the benefit of Lagosians and the country at large.
Alade said that the service was currently running an initiative called ‘Ibile’ to get more tax payers into the tax net.
The “Ibile” strategy is an electronic platform that represents the divisions in Lagos – Ikorodu, Badagry, Ikeja, Lagos, Epe (IBILE).
Alade said to get more people into the tax net, the agency was also profiling both individuals and corporate entities on a daily basis while also using technology to widen the tax net.
“Our mission is to ensure that every taxable adult resident in Lagos State is captured into the tax net, ” he said.
Alade gave taxpayers yet to pay their consumption tax in 2019 till March 31, 2021 to clear their outstanding taxes, warning that the service would bring defaulters to book.
He said: “Section 41 of Personal Income Tax Act (PITA), provides that, a taxable person shall, without notice or demand, to file a return of their income in the prescribed form and containing the prescribed information with the tax authority of their state of residence.
“This return shall contain income earned from all sources in the year preceding the year of assessment and it must be filed not later than March 31 of every year.
“This return is expected to be filed by all individuals including those who are self-employed and submit their tax returns by way of direct assessments as well as those who are in paid employments under the Pay-As-You- Earn (PAYE) scheme,” he added.
He stated that the agency had made the filing of returns very convenient through the e-tax online platform.
Alade added that taxpayers could now do their filing at their own time and in the comfort of their own spaces without having to visit the tax offices.
“I am using this medium to encourage everyone that is yet to file to quickly do so before the deadline date because failure to file is a punishable offence,” he said.
He advised taxpayers to pay up their taxes, stressing that the Lagos State Government is working tirelessly to provide conducive environment for businesses to thrive in the state.
“We know that the COVID-19 has disrupted businesses in the state and in Nigeria at large.
“This is why we are having a human face acting as business facilitators because we want businesses to thrive by creating job opportunities and wealth for the state,” he said.
Alade said that as an agency aimed at better maximising tax revenue, the gap between the formal and informal economy remittances must be closed.
“We have employed technology to drive taxation of this sector through enumeration and registration by unique biometric identifiers and also easing tax payment through, multiple, dependable and flexible platforms.
“We are confidently striving forward and in due course the narrative of taxation of the informal sector will be different,” he said.
He noted that most businesses under the purview of the consumption tax were back in operation, as some of them had been hiding under the veil of the pandemic in order not to fulfill their statutory obligations.
He added that the spot check was a way of forewarning these entities.
Alade also urged them to be alive to their statutory duties in order to avoid the sanctions.