Clampdown: Lagos sues 238 firms, reports 14,000 others to the police for tax evasion

No fewer than 238 court cases had been filed against companies and individuals by the Lagos State Government for defaulting in paying taxes in the state.

The government added that it had also reported 14,000 others to the police, which had invited them to make statements. The government said the invitation was a prelude to instituting a criminal proceeding on tax evasion against them.

The Chairman of the state Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Tunde Fowler, who said the government would no longer treat tax evaders with kids gloves, added that the prosecution would request jail terms for the offenders apart from the monetary penalty.

He spoke on Tuesday at a press conference in Alausa, Ikeja, to intimate Lagosians with government’s next step on taxation.

He said, “There are various fines for tax evasion and there are also jail terms ranging from six months to three years. We will not only go for monetary penalty, we will also go for jail term.”

Fowler, however, urged residents of the state to voluntarily perform their civic duties because the government was not interested in jailing anybody.

Earlier, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, said the conference was to “formally notify the public’ of the government’s intention to prosecute tax offenders, adding, that “in few days, the accused persons will be brought to the court”.

Ipaye explained that the decision was based the need to make everybody in the state to be alive to their responsibilities.

He said, “Progress in any society is based on productive people setting apart a portion of their earnings for public goods.”

The commissioner explained that since 1999, the government had been fine-tuning taxation in the state.

He said, “After that, we enlightened the public on essence of tax. We are now at the next phase which is enforcement. We want to get the people to take the issue of tax seriously by prosecuting the offenders.”

Ipaye said the government would be prosecuting individuals as well as companies. “We already have a fiat of the Attorney General of the federation to prosecute. The law says we should not wait before declaring our income,” he said.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Taxation and Revenue, Mr. Abimbola Sodipo, explained that the projection of the state was that eight million people were supposed to be paying tax in the state. He added that presently, only about two million residents pay tax.

He said, “The over two million that were paying taxes was a far cry from the eight million that were supposed to be paying. This means that two million people were carrying the burden of 20 million instead of the eight that should be doing so.”

Punch Newspapers

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail