A LEGAL EXAMINATION OF THE ROLE OF TAXATION IN REVENUE GENERATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

Diploma

Abstract 

The bulk majority of the tax evasion and tax avoidance is caused by inadequate machineries and lack of skilled personal in administrative tax bodies as well as the legal framework upon which their relationship rest. This result in many problems of the tax collection in Nigeria. It is in this regard that the topic of this dissertation entitled “A Legal Examination of the Role of Taxation in Revenue Generation and Economic Development in Nigeria” was chosen. This study is to present, explore and analyze the nature and extent of tax legal provisions relating to the role of taxation in revenue generation and economic development in Nigeria. It will also present how they are maintained, practiced, adhered to and suggest some ways and means of improving the present state of affairs. The study is composed of five Chapters. Thus, Chapter one dealt with the General Introduction, Background, Statement of Problems, Aims and Objectives, Scope of the study, Significance of the study, Research Methodology, Literature Review and Organizational layout. Chapter two discussed on Examination of Taxing power in the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended), and the brief history of Income Taxation in Nigeria. Chapter three is the bedrock of the whole work that discussed the role of taxation in the economic development of Nigeria with its legal perspectives. Chapter four discussed on significance of Taxation in Nigeria; Nigerian Economic Situation and Tax as incentive for economic growth. Chapter five which is the last chapter discussed on Summery, Findings and Recommendations that my hopefully be help in solving the problems.


Background of the Study


Tax is one of the sources of revenue for the government.  This is so because for the achievement of aims, goals and objectives, an organization will need to have enough funds at its disposal.  This importance assumes an accelerated dimension in the face of the present economic recession in Nigeria.
Therefore, tax system is one of the most powerful means available to the government to stimulate and guide its economic and social development.  In the life of any nation, taxation is an indispensable tool employed by the government for the promotion of their overall economic and social objectives. The crucial role that taxation plays in the development of Nigerian economy cannot be over emphasized.
Though revenue generation seems to be the primary goal of the government when it levies taxes, however it not the only purpose of the government in levying taxes, but produces economic need for the government.
For instance, when investment, production, consumption and so on, begin to rise or fall dangerously, a change in the tax structure can stop or reverse the undesired trend.  It is in recognition of this crucial role of taxation in a country‟s economy that the United State Supreme
Court has this to say in the case of Nichols v. Ames 
Taxation is one great power upon which the National fabric is base.  It is necessary to the existence and prosperity of a nation. It is in the air she breathes.  For natural men, it is not only the power to destroy…
Taxation provides the main impetus for formulation and implementation of an optimal fiscal strategic policy. To this end state governments in Nigeria play and carry out important roles and responsibilities, for examples apart from Local governments State governments are the second tier of governments closest to the people.  These governments coupled with other responsibilities they are saddled with they provides the people with social services, and to do this effectively they need to generate enough funds.
Therefore, to generate enough funds for any government in order to discharge its responsibilities effectively it is a matter of concern to everyone. The accessibility of the income of the tax payer from all sources, including balancing charge, less allowable deductions for expenses, capital allowances and losses are the income of the taxpayers.  There is the unreported case of a Professor who earned N3,000 from a part-time state appointment. He transferred the income tohis University faculty to be used for the advancement of education. The income had never come to his hands. The revenue successfully contended that the income was that of Professor and not that of the recipient of a gift, since the recipient had not earned it. The Professor may plead that this is good example of a legal tax avoidance to benefit mankind, and that an American case of the RITES Foundation may be cited as a precedent.  The point here is that it must be proved conclusively that the income is that of the taxpayers.
Tax rates are fixed by Government as a matter of fiscal policy. Over times, these rates have changed in line with government perception of economic realities on the ground. Tax rates in taxation makes for progression which translates into the higher the income, the higher the tax that should be paid. Taxation does not just relate to application of tax laws alone but alsoabout incidence. Tax incidence should be progressive as a pre-requisition of an efficient system of taxation. Other considerations would have arisen if chargeable income were taxed at the same rate. This would definitely be heavily weighted against those in the low income bracket. Thus, it will bring equity which government tries to promote through the policy of income tax rate as follows:
The difference between income tax and income rate is that income tax is charged on chargeable income whereas income rate is levied on total income.  Income rate was abolished from 1977/78 year of assessment in respect of those who pay tax under Pay-As-You-Earn system.   Instead, where the chargeable income is nil, a taxpayer will be liable to pay tax at the rate of 1 percent of his total income.  This was abolished in 1998.


Statement of Problem


The problems of this research work are as follows:
1.    Tax collection appears difficult because, the tendency of some corrupt and inept tax officials conspire with tax defaulters to avoid tax payment whichcripples the aims and objectives of the government‟s good policy.
2.    There is also the problem of weak or inefficient and defective legislation. There are also inadequate machineries as well as lack of skilled personnel in the administration of tax that causes low revenue generation to the government.
3.    The tax rates in Nigeria are very high. This makes it difficult to achieve adequate income tax compliance resulting into tax evasion and avoidance by tax payers.
4.    Another problem is the excessive corruption and mismanagement of the funds by the tax administrators in the country which can adverselyaffect the disposition of the people‟s attitude towards the payment of taxes, for example, the House Committee on Finance reported that, over the years the Nigerian Government has lost billions of Naira in fraudulent and underhand dealings corruptly design by some banks to evade taxes, and also corruption on the side of revenue collector‟s account for the low revenue generation in Nigeria.