The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service says it will commence the prosecution of tax evaders and offenders in the state from April 1, 2016.
The LIRS in a statement by its Executive Chairman, Mr. Olufolarin Ogunsanwo, on Wednesday said the move became necessary because a large number of Lagosians had not paid their taxes although the law stated that eligible tax payers must pay within 90 days of the New Year.
The statement read in part, “Under the Personal Income Tax Act, a taxable person is statutorily required to file a return of income for the preceding year within 90 days from the commencement of every year of assessment (March 31st being the deadline), while every employer of labour is required to file all emoluments paid to its employees for the preceding year, not later than 31st of January each year.
“Therefore, any taxable person or corporate organisation, who fails to file their tax returns with LIRS by the stipulated date, is in breach of the provisions of the law, which is a criminal offence that is punishable under the tax laws.”
Ogunsanwo said the service had put all the necessary machineries in place to ensure the enforcement of the tax laws with effect from April 1, 2016, adding that there would be no hiding place for offenders.
He said LIRS had made effort through advocacy and enlightenment programmes to encourage residents of the state to pay their taxes, adding that some taxpayers complied willingly.
“But it is disheartening to note that a large fraction of eligible taxpayers are still not complying, thereby failing to contribute to the common purse for the good of all.
“In the wake of little or no proceeds from the federation account, the focus of the present administration in renewing infrastructure and general development of the state cannot be achieved by the attitude of those who deliberately refuse to discharge their civic responsibility to the state.
“We are now going to the next phase, which is enforcement and prosecution, and we will take full advantage of the provisions of the tax laws to apprehend and prosecute tax defaulters,” Ogunsanwo said.
He urged all taxable residents in Lagos State to quickly pay their taxes, adding that the government would, through the Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit, commence prosecution of tax defaulters in Lagos State without further notice.