TAX COMPLIANCE: LIRS HOSTS TRADESMEN, ARTISANS
As part of its drive to ensure tax compliance in the Centre of
Excellence, especially from the informal sector, the Lagos State
Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) held a stakeholders’ meeting with
tradesmen and artisans in the State on Thursday July 28, 2016.
The tradesmen, represented by their umbrella body, the Lagos State
Council of Tradesmen and Artisans (LASCOTA) met with officials of the
tax agency at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium located inside the Lagos State
Government Secretariat, in Alausa, Ikeja.
The event which witnessed a huge turn-out of representatives of
different taxpayer groups within the sector and Lagos State government
officials was chaired by the Executive Chairman LIRS, Mr. Olufolarin
The LIRS boss bemoaned the attitude of some residents to payment of
taxes, disclosing that of the nine million projected taxable persons
resident in the State, only a little above five million of them are tax
compliant, hence the urgent need for the tax agency to ensure all
stakeholders including the informal sector contribute their respective
quota to the revenue pool.
Ogunsanwo urged tradesmen and artisans operating in the State to pay an
annual tax of N5, 000 each (under the presumptive tax regime),
enlightening those present on the renewed and continuous efforts
embarked upon to build ease and convenience into the payment of these
He said, “In its continuous drive to increase the State’s Internally
Generated Revenue (IGR) and make tax assessment and payment voluntary,
convenient, and unambiguous for tax payers, LIRS has opened up new
payment platforms, compressed the tax forms and printed them in Yoruba
and Pidgin, acquired a hotline that taxpayers can call for enquiries in
any of the 3 major languages, replaced MTCC with ETCC for the informal
sector and reviewed the cost and process of replacement of the said
card amongst other things.
The sensitization campaign also hinged on the various steps taken by the
Lagos State Government to continually create an enabling environment for
businesses to thrive. According to Ogunsanwo, with the shortfall in
allocation from the federation accounts, one of the ways of shoring up
revenue for a cosmopolitan state like Lagos is to create the enabling
and business- friendly environment for the Informal Sector and
thereafter ensure that all taxes due are collected in an effective and
efficient manner. He reiterated that His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi
Ambode of Lagos State, has been able to carry out all his campaign
promises to Lagosians through execution of projects which have been made
possible by the taxes that are being paid by individuals and groups.”
Explaining why taxpayers in Lagos State must file a return of their
earnings, the Lagos Chief Tax Man, also quoted copiously from Section 24
of the Personal Income Tax Act urging residents to pay their taxes as
and when due.
He said, “The Personal Income Tax Act which is a federal law is what we
implement for the collection of taxes. This Act also states in Section
41 that you must file your returns within the first 90 days of the
commencement of any year. Anyone that does not do so will be running
afoul of the law and may be prosecuted and even jailed on conviction.
This explains why LIRS has launched various campaigns, using all
platforms to sensitize artisans, traders and market men/women, making
them understand that paying taxes is not only their civic
responsibility, but it is also the law.
Ogunsanwo harped on the need for tradesmen and artisans in Lagos state
to pay the stipulated N5, 000 annual tax, citing the punitive measures
that are in place for tax defaulters.
“There is a new plan for massive enumeration of people in this sector
and when this is fully implemented, certainly there will be no hiding
place for those that will still choose to disobey the law. The plan will
ensure that every artisan, in one way or another will have a contact
with the government, and in so doing, evidence of tax payments will be
requested. Just as we have always requested tax clearance certificate
from anyone caught for a traffic offence in Lagos State. This is to say,
after the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, has obtained
a fine from any offender, there will still be a request for evidence of
tax payment before his or her car is released. With that a lot more
people were brought into the tax net”
To make this step an achievable feat, the tax agency disclosed the need
to work with consultants which the governor has approved and the need to
also bring on board, representatives of the Informal Sector who make a
large percentage of the population in Lagos.
Responding on behalf of the artisans, President of LASCOTA, Alhaji
Nurudeen Buhari commended the tax agency and its officials for their
concerted efforts in interacting with members of the association. He
solicited the government’s support in encouraging tradesmen and artisans
to join the relevant associations for proper monitoring and
accountability and assured the government of LASCOTA’s commitment in
helping the present administration meet its set goals.
The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) is an agency of the
Lagos State Government which is saddled with the responsibility of
collecting taxes and has recorded an unrivaled success over the years.
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