Sesan Olufowobi and Ramon Oladimeji
The Lagos State Government says it is set to prosecute no fewer than 28 alleged tax defaulters in the state.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Lagos State, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, on Monday said the state had filed all the necessary information of the case before the high court.
The commissioner said among the 28 alleged tax defaulters were those who failed to file and furnish the state with their tax returns and others who refused to pay their personal taxes to the state.
He said, “The culprits were handed over to the Ministry of Justice’s Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit by the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service.
“The tax defaulters acted contrary to the provisions of the Personal Income Tax Act, 2004, as amended, and the Lagos State Revenue Administration Law.
“It has become important for the Lagos State Government to pay more attention to the enforcement of its tax laws as many people in the state are now defaulting.”
Kazeem said it was for this reason that the state government established the Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit to aid the LIRS in its drive to collect taxes.
He urged members of the public to cooperate with tax officers, warning that the state would not hesitate to prosecute anyone who obstructed the tax officers from carrying out their lawful duties.
He said, “Under the Personal Income Tax Act, 2004, 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 31 being the deadline – while every employer of labour is required to file all emoluments paid to their employees for the preceding year, not later than January 31 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 law.”
He said tax evaders and offenders, upon prosecution, might be fined, imprisoned or made to face both sanctions as provided in the Personal Income Tax Act.
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