Multiple Taxation in Benue

TAXATION is a legal framework of government in the civilized world to generate revenue for the purpose of development; a necessary and inviolable duty of the citizen enforced by government in transparent and effective manners. Therefore, procedural approaches that undermine its sanctity are deemphasized and avoided.

THAT is why reported cases of multiple taxation in Benue State require an urgent redress. Multiplicity in tax collection manifests as different organs of government in the business. Aside from confusion, this constitutes a burden on a vast segment of the society especially, small scale businesses such as the ones found in Benue State.

NOTABLE organs of government involved in tax collection in Benue State include the state Internal Revenue Service (BIRS); Local Governments, Ministry of Commerce; Trade and Investment; Ministry of Science and Technology; Urban Development Board and Benue State Environmental Sanitation Agency, BENSESA; each collecting revenues from traders, companies and business operators under different portfolios leaving suspicion and distrust.

IT is unarguable that BIRS was established to discharge tax responsibilities on behalf of the state government and its existence strips similar bodies of the task. Therefore, the continued operations of ministries and other agencies of government in tax collection is a multiple exercise that is unnecessary and undesirable.

DIFFERENT tax portfolios in existence propel ministries and agencies of the government to engage in multiple collection and should be pooled together, harmonized and handed to BIRS or any other approved body in singular discharge of duty for transparency and accountability sake.

BEING the third tier of government, the Local Government is exempted and is entitled to a separate tax portfolio. However, it is needless for both the state and local government to collect tax on a single element therefore, it is important for this to be clearly defined and separated to avoid duplication.

BENUE State is one of Nigeria’s well endowed locations but unindustrialized therefore, the state government explores workable solutions to its industrial deficit but burdens of taxation expressed in multiple collection undermines the drive for industrialization and should be quickly addressed.

WHILE every business with a profit motive is taxable, a deliberate policy of the government to exempt trades and businesses that are newly established and barely surviving is advocated in an environment with a growing army of unemployed youths who constitute social disorder and the few enterprising among them in business should be encouraged.

APART from tax exemption, the government should provide financial incentives and managerial assistance to young businesses and entrepreneurs so they can flourish and grow to sizes that can proudly discharge tax responsibilities, offer employments and fast track economic development.

FINALLY, the need for accountability is worth stressing. Tax collected should be safely delivered to the state government without diversion. The government should in turn commit to the judicious use of tax revenue at all times with tangible results. The provision of social amenities and infrastructure for industrialization is a common proof of tax accountability in every clime and should be copied by the state government.

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