Principles of Taxation in Nigeria

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RGeneral Principles of Taxation
 
 
Fundamental Principles in Taxation
 
 
Taxation
 
                     Taxation is the inherent power of the sovereign, exercised through the legislature, to impose burdens upon subjects and objects within its jurisdiction for the purpose of raising revenues to carry out the legitimate objects of government.  

                     It is also defined as the act of levying a tax, i.e. the process or means by which the sovereign, through its law-making body, raises income to defray the necessary expenses of government. It is a method of apportioning the cost of government among those who, in some measure, are privileged to enjoy its benefits and must therefore bear its burdens.  

Taxes
 
                     Taxes are the enforced proportional contributions from persons and property levied by the law-making body of the State by virtue of its sovereignty for the support of the government and all public needs.  

Essential elements of a tax
 
1.       It is an enforced contribution.
 
2.       It is generally payable in money.
 
3.       It is proportionate in character.
 
4.       It is levied on persons, property, or the exercise of a right or privilege.  
5.       It is levied by the State which has jurisdiction over the subject or object of taxation.  
6.       It is levied by the law-making body of the State.  
7.       It is levied for public purpose or purposes.
 

 
Purposes of taxation
 
1.       Revenue or fiscal: The primary purpose of taxation on the part of the government is to provide funds or property with which to promote the general welfare and the protection of its citizens and to enable it to finance its multifarious activities.  

2.       Non-revenue or regulatory: Taxation may also be employed for purposes of regulation or control.  
a)       Imposition of tariffs on imported goods to protect local industries.  
b)       The adoption of progressively higher tax rates to reduce inequalities in wealth and income.  
c)       The increase or decrease of taxes to prevent inflation or ward off depression.  
PAL v. Edu, 164 SCRA 320
 
                     The legislative intent and purpose behind the law requiring owners of vehicles to pay for their registration is mainly to raise funds for the construction and maintenance of highways and, to a much lesser degree, pay for the operating expenses of the administering agency. It is possible for an exaction to be both a tax and a regulation. License fees are charges, looked to as a source of revenue as well as a means of regulation. The fees may properly be regarded as taxes even though they also serve as an instrument of regulation. If the purpose is primarily revenue, or if revenue is at least one of the real and substantial purposes, then the exaction is properly called a tax.  

Tio v. Videogram, 151 SCRA 208
 
                     PD 1987 which created the Videogram Regulatory Board also imposed a 30% tax on the gross receipts payable to the local government. SC upheld the validity of the law ruling that the tax imposed is not only a regulatory, but also a revenue, measure prompted by the realization that earnings of videogram establishments of around P600 million annually have not been subjected to tax, thereby depriving the government of an additional source of revenue. It is a user tax imposed on retailers for every video they make available for public viewing. The 30% tax also served a regulatory purpose: to answer the need for regulating the video industry, particularly the rampant film piracy, the flagrant violation of intellectual property rights, and the proliferation of pornographic video tapes.

 
Caltex v. Commissioner, 208 SCRA 755
 
                     Taxation is no longer a measure merely to raise revenue to support the existence of government. Taxes may be levied with a regulatory purpose to provide means for the rehabilitation and stabilization of a threatened...
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