Death and Taxes are the two unavoidables in the span of the human existence. In addition, the bedrock of a democratic setting is that it must be based on a community of tax payers who through the process of meeting up with their tax obligations become stakeholders. Not for nothing, did the revolutionaries in the United States use the slogan, “No taxation, without representation” as the justification for their opposition to British colonial imposition. This explains it all, and it has become the locus on which the modern democratic state exists.
The State of Osun Internal Revenue Service (OIRS) would have been derelict in its duties if it had not sealed off the premises of four leading commercial banks during the week. The agency was spurred into action due to the non-remittance of the withholding tax due to the state government to the tune of N72,932,717.72 between the period of 2012 and 2014.
We support the position taken. The State government of Osun is operating in a tight fiscal climate. The quasi-federalism operated at the moment has not given it the leeway to operate properly as a federating unit should in a federation. Therefore, all revenue sources due to it, must be tapped. The government of the State of Osun has gone-out of its way to create a business-friendly atmosphere in order to attract and retain investments. The government also has an obligation to invest in infrastructures to support and enhance such investments. We are faced here, with the issue of rights and obligations. The fulfillments of tax obligations are very critical in the government’s efforts to meet its commitments to providing the requisite business-friendly environment. Sadly, a lot of other sectors are also in default.
The OIRS has been doing its best. As the Acting Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Osun Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Bicci Ali has pointed out: “The OIRS has intensified efforts on advocacy, publicity and enlightenment programmes on the statutory obligations of the citizenry to voluntarily comply, by paying their taxes, levies and other charges promptly as prescribed in the constitution of the country and the applicable tax legislations”.
He said, in spite of the efforts, many corporate organisations and individuals still engage in violations of the tax law, saying “under the Tax Act, a taxable person is statutorily required to file a return of income for the preceding year at the expiration of 90 days from the commencement of every year of assessment, a taxable person or corporate organisations who have not filed their tax returns with OIRS by the stipulated date is in breach of the provisions of the law, which is an offence that is punishable under the tax laws”
There can of course be no traders without a market. And a market can only be enhanced as well as deepened by government investments in the necessary social and physical infrastructures. The funds involved are hardly humongous, but they are vitally needed. We therefore urge the affected organisations to speedily pay up and we also urge all citizens to meet up with their tax obligations in order to assist the government in these very difficult times.