Don’t evade tax, Cross River warns low income earners

Residents of Cross River State, particularly low income earners, have been warned not to evade paying their taxes. The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Eteng Williams, gave the warning in Calabar during a tax enlightenment town hall meeting organised by the Cross River State Internal Revenue Service as part of its sensitisation and enlightenment of tax payers on voluntary tax compliance.  Williams said for any low income earner to be exempted from the tax net, the executive arm of government would forward a list of those who qualified for exemption to the Assembly and then pay for them as the law did not allow tax exemption. “What the law actually says is that at the beginning of a tax year, which is before the appropriation is passed, we have to write to His Excellency to give us (the Assembly) the list of those to be exempted. “Tax is compulsory, which means the government must pay for those people. If the government does not pay, then they have not been exempted. You cannot exempt yourself from tax because it is against the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said. “If the Cross River State Government is willing to pay for them, then they will be exempted, particularly the low income earners. When government categorises those who are low income earners and then gives us the list of these people, then they will be exempted and we will collect the money from government. “Everybody must pay their taxes. If you are being exempted, you have to tell the government to pay for you because when someone asks you to present your tax clearance certificate and you don’t, then it’s against the constitution. Any law that is in conflict with the constitution is null and void.”


Source: Punch