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JTB plans fresh law on multiple taxes

By on May 7, 2013

The Joint Tax Board has begun fresh moves to address the multiplicity of taxes as it has concluded plans to send a proposal to the National Assembly to that effect.

The bill will enable the tax authorities harmonise all collectible levies and taxes paid by taxpayers at the three tiers of government.

This was the high point of the JTB’s 127th meeting, which was held in Abuja on Monday, where issues on how to develop a viable tax system for the country were discussed.

The meeting was chaired by the Acting Chairman of the JTB, Alhaji Kabir Mashi, and was also attended by representatives of internal revenue boards from the 36 states of the federation.

According to the National Tax Policy Document, multiple-taxation occurs where a tax, fee or rate is levied on the same person in respect of the same liability by more than one state or local government council, where the state and local government are charging the same income for business premises permit.

A communiqué issued after the meeting, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent, stated that the proposal, which would be sent to the National Assembly, would harmonise all collectible taxes and levies in the country.

The communiqué was jointly signed by Mashi and the JTB Secretary, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar.

It read in part, “The board considered incidence of multiplicity of taxation and levies across the country and resolved to harmonise collectible taxes and levies by all the tiers of government through a proposal to the National Assembly for the amendment of existing tax laws.”

Commenting further on the issue of multiple-taxation, Mashi told our correspondent in an interview that a lot of efforts had been made by the government to address the problem, adding that a lasting solution would soon be found to the menace

He said, “A lot has been done, but you must understand that this is not an issue that can be resolved by the FIRS alone.

“It is a national issue and it requires collaboration between the federal, state and local governments to put an end to this issue, which negatively affects business and inhibits the movement of goods and services across the country.

“Only last month, the National Economic Council set up a committee to look into various complaints of multiple-taxation across the country, and I headed the technical subcommittee of that committee.

“We looked at the causes of multiple-taxation across the country, its incidences and the possible solutions. We prepared a detailed report, which was reviewed and adopted by the committee.”

He said since multiple-taxation was hampering businesses, the FIRS would do all within its powers to reduce the problem.

Mashi said, “On our part, we will continue to do everything within our powers to reduce the incidence of multiple-taxation.

“Indeed, I have a personal desire to achieve this, because I was part of the committee, which recommended the enactment of the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act in 1998.

“The Act delineates what taxes can be collected by the different tiers of government and it has gone a long way towards managing this issue of multiple-taxation. But the Act is long overdue for review as it is over 15 years since it was passed, and this was one of our recommendations to NEC.”