Last weekend, capital market experts appealed to the incoming administration to eradicate multiple taxes as according to them, it is an investment obstacle, as companies that recorded losses are made to pay taxes from their turnover.
The issue of multiple taxes in Nigeria has affected the operations of many listed companies negatively, and as such arousing criticisms.
According to the experts, the tax system depletes returns on investment, erodes the capital base of listed firms, and subsequently trigger businesses collapse. They added that it largely undermines efforts by capital market regulators to woo more companies to list their shares in the market, a move that will make investors have access to many investment opportunities and deepen the market.
The National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Boniface Okezie, said:
“the tax regime in Nigeria is indeed killing, what is government doing with these levies? They are not using it to better the life of the ordinary Nigerian. The infrastructure are not there; power that would enable these companies run their factory is absent, and most of these industries have no good road network, and at the end, it would affect dividend declaration and shareholders will suffer.
“The incoming government must give priority to the issues of multiple taxation, some of these companies need tax holidays in other to recoup the money invested in infrastructures so that there will be room to pay dividend to those who invested in them and employed more hands.”
According to a legal expert on taxation, Dr Abiola Sanni, the multiplicity of taxes is not an established term in the field of taxation as such. Thus, the term seems to a Nigerian thing.
Over time, there have been various definitions of the words, According to the National Tax Policy Document, multiple taxations occur where the tax is levied on the same person in respect of the same liability by more than one State or Local Government Council.
Contrary to this, research From the general usages of multiplicity of taxes by stakeholders says it can manifest in at least four ways.
- It refers to the various unlawful compulsory payments being collected by the local and state governments without appropriate legal backing through intimidation and harassment of the payers. Collection of it is characterised by the use of stickers, mounting of roadblocks, use of revenue Agents/Consultants including motor-park touts.
- Situations where a taxpayer is faced with demands from two or more different levels of government either for the same or similar taxes. A good example here is the administration of the Value Added Tax (VAT) and Sales Tax simultaneously.
- Where the same level of government imposes two or more taxes on the same tax base. A good example is payment of Companies Income Tax, Education Tax and Technology Levy by the same company.
- Cases whereby various government agencies “impose taxes” in the form of fees or charges.
Sectors multiple taxes affects
Multiple taxes particularly affect the oil and gas industry, the manufacturing and service sector, the telecommunications industry, the insurance industry as well as the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).