BENIN CITY– Edo State Internal Revenue Service (EIRS) has hailed the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Edo State, for endorsing the payment of tax.
Making the commendation and accepting the request to partner the NBA on tax education and other forms of partnership, on behalf of the Executive Chairman, EIRS, Igbinidu Inneh, the Secretary, to the Revenue Service (SRS), Efe Iserhienrhien, expressed relief at the stand of the NBA on payment of tax which was a great departure from the combative stance of some individual lawyers on the issue.
The SRS opined that the stand of the NBA would go a long way at straightening grey issues while opening up fine lines of dialogue with the view of minimizing the spate of rancour between the legal body and the tax authority.
The SRS haven listened to the plea of the NBA said the Service would consult and look into the enabling laws and where applicable, exercise its discretionary powers at coming up with realistic tax waivers.
Harping on Section 54, of the Personal Income Tax Act which guides the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme, the SRS said principal lawyers (owners of law chambers) had to file in personal tax returns within the first 90 days annually and PAYE Returns on behalf of practising lawyers in their chambers, including those undergoing mentorship within the first thirty days, for the purpose of tax remittance.
He said tax is assessed and based on all sources of income derived from and brought into and accruing in Nigeria noting that the rights of every taxpayer is protected by the Personal Income Tax Act through the existence of a reconciliation committee where objection to tax assessments are looked into. He further clarified that property tax was not the same as income tax.
The Secretary to the Revenue Service informed that the Service has recorded additional 120,000 taxable persons into the tax net, saying that payment of tax is a burden that must shouldered by all taxable persons.
Mr. Efe assured that the sensitization education and enlightenment of members of the NBA, other professional bodies as well as the general public on tax issues, will be continuous and sustained particularly with the recently inaugurated Edo State Tax Engagement and Enlightenment Team (STEET).
The NBA new executive team led by Collins Benson Ogiegbaen esq., was at the revenue house to seek partnership with the EIRS, with the plea that tax assessment to members be affordable and realistic, against the backdrop that new entrants into the legal practice have been assessed for tax for 3-4yrs.
The NBA chair expressed confidence on the Board members by their indept display of tax knowledge. He voiced that tax payment is obligatory of every income earner including lawyers but noted that such tax assessment and payment was not an individual thing for members alone as whatever affected individual lawyers affected the association.
He noted that it was erroneous to believe that lawyers did not pay tax as some members had their Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) as evidence of identified tax payer in Edo State.
The NBA chairman encouraged the EIRS to have a human face by taking a cue from the English Law where Equity came to ameliorate the hardships of the Common Law.
He nonetheless pleaded for a stay of action on the 30day period in which an aggrieved PAYE had the right to turn in written objections to allow for amicable reconciliation.
Though this request was turned down, the NBA was promised an expedited hearing for their objection, to make for an amicable reconciliation.