Enforcement Procdures in Nigeria Tax System

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CHAPTER ONE

1. BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Taxation plays a very important role in the economic life of a developing country like Nigeria. Today Nigeria is indeed in need of effective and efficient tax system in order to generate enough revenue that will finance economic growth and development. There is the urgent need in the country to evolve new approach for handling various tax issue dealing with both compliance and planning work. The use of Tax in National development is increasing and further introduction of new technology will ensure its continued growth and influence in stimulating economic growth.

All over the world, nations strive for progress development and continuous improvement in the welfare of their citizens. Developed nations are known for their ability in providing for present generations of their citizens, without jeopardizing the future of coming generations take certain decisions to safeguard their future.

Ordinarily, citizens and taxable corporate organization are not only expected to voluntarily comply with the payment of taxes, they are also expected to pay the correct amount of taxes from where these legitimate expectations by the Governments from the tax paying public are not fully achieved, the relevant question will be how to enforce compliance in the payment of taxes. Payment of taxes has religious and secular foundations. A devout believer in the Christian religion who does not pay tax commits a sin and a crime. Jesus Christ encouraged the payment of taxes even by his disciples to whom he handed over the church as it is today, the divisions of Christianity according to denominations notwithstanding. Among the several instances of Tax in the bible are: Mathew 17: 12 – 27 and 2 Kings 23: 35. In fact in Mathew 17: 27, Peter paid tax for himself, other disciples and Jesus Christ. In the last 6 – 9 years, some of the State Governments and the Federal Government have employed the services of some Tax Consultants as one of the way to enforce tax compliance. In some quarters, some of these Tax Consultants have been dubbed “Tax Contractors” because of their failure to wear “human face” in some instances during the course of their duties. The study intends to examine this and other various enforcement procedures stated in some of the major Tax Laws in Nigeria. Some of the enforcement procedures to be covered include; Self Assessment introduced by the Federal Inland Revenue Service in 1991 to enforce voluntary compliance, sanctions in form of penalties against tax defaulters, power of search and seizure of books, documents and records of taxpayers to recover the tax due and most recently Tax Appeal Tribunal that was inaugurated on the 5th of February 2010 to replace the defunct Body of Appeal commissioners (BAC) and the Value Added Tax Tribunal (VAT – T) that have been abrogated.

Other procedures to be examined include special functions of desk examination, Tax Audit and Special/Criminal Investigation in the Nigeria Tax Administration. Thereafter an inference will be made as to the effectiveness or otherwise of these procedures in the effort to increase government revenue and also to achieve voluntary compliance. 2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Can the revenue generation objective of taxation not be pursued without hurting the economic fabric of the country and to what extent has voluntary tax compliance and invariably Government revenue been enhanced through the various tax enforcement procedures of tax Laws? 3. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

This study provides basic answers to the questions raised in item 1.4 below. In summary, have the tax enforcement procedures in Nigeria tax system strong enough to encourage taxpayers to voluntarily comply with payment of tax? 4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS

i) Are the taxpayers versed with the enforcement procedures of our tax laws? ii) Are the various enforcement procedures brought to the notice of the taxpayers? iii) In what ways are the...
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