Jargon thwarts tax collection efforts in Computer Village – entrepreneurs

Business owners at the Computer Village, Ikeja Lagos have said one of the major issues they have with tax payment is understanding the tax jargon.

Mike Orji, a Computer Village business owner, mentioned some of the terms he doesn’t understand, such as tax exemption, preparing an audited account, proper record-keeping, the difference between limited liability and an enterprise, due date, tax avoidance, and tax evasion, all of which have an impact on his ability to be tax compliant.

In response to Orji’s dilemma, Yemi Sanni, Chairman The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria Lagos and District Society (CITN LDS), said his organisation is ready to help the entrepreneurs.

“We understand that language and that is why we are putting it upon ourselves to help you interpret what they are saying,” Sanni said.

This was one of the tax issues discussed during an event hosted by CITN LDS in collaboration with the Coalition of Associations in Computer Village to mark CITN’s 40th anniversary and annual tax week in Lagos, themed Taxation and Business: Guide for Nigerian Entrepreneurs.

During his introductory remarks at the event Thursday, Sanni noted that CITN LDS has made itself accessible as a channel to assist entrepreneurs in Computer Village with their LIRS and FIRS concerns free of charge.

“The best structure to achieve this is for entrepreneurs in Computer Village to report any tax difficulties to the Coalition of Associations, who will get in touch with LDS to look at those problems and speak with the various tax authorities for answers,” the CITN LDS chairman stated.

Saadatu Yero, Director, Taxpayer Service Department, FIRS, who was represented by Mohammed Sadiq, State Coordinator, Lagos East FIRS, stated that the ambition of FIRS is to deliver quality service to taxpayers in partnership with all stakeholders and make taxation the pivot of national development.

Read also: Why there’s low tax compliance in Nigeria – CITN

“The intention of FIRS is never to kill businesses, but to grow businesses,” he said.

Computer Village is one of the major stakeholders of CITN, according to Adesina Adebayo, president of CITN, who was represented by Innocent Ohagwa, deputy vice president of CITN.

“When businesses and tax administrators and practitioners have a common understanding,” he said. “The benefits for all will include company growth, increased tax revenue, and better infrastructure provision, among other things.”

Also, Folasade Coker, Director, Informal Sector and Special Duties, LIRS, revealed that the Lagos State government created the ‘Ibile’ hub which stands for Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island, and Epe to simplify the process of collecting revenue from the informal sector.

“Instead of taxpayers seeking for our tax stations, we will go into the marketplace because we understand that traders do not want to leave their business for even a minute to wander around,” Coker explained.

Business owners in Computer Village also reported that they are saddled with a lot of tax payments, various types of taxes, and demand notifications from both the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Lagos Inland Revenue Service during the event.

The Coalition of Associations is the union of about 15 different associations that represent over 90 percent of entrepreneurs in Computer Village. “I am grateful for the knowledge on how to pay our taxes and how to avoid paying a lot of money because of our ignorance,” according to Timi David, the President of the Coalition of Associations in Computer Village.

LDS acting as a link between these business owners and tax authorities will instill confidence and trust in the relevant tax authorities, resulting in a higher level of compliance among these individuals.

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