The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said it had captured no fewer than
300,000 new tax payers in its tax net in the last one year.

Special Adviser to Gov. Babatunde Fashola on Taxation and Revenue, Mr Bola
Shodipo, made the disclosure at the 2015 ministerial news conference.

He said the development meant that the number of tax payers had grown from
the 4.2million recorded in 2014 to 4.5 million presently.

According to him, the new taxpayers are mainly people in the informal
sector and some in the formal sector.

The Special Adviser commended residents for increasingly paying taxes
voluntarily, saying the practice had enabled government to discharge its
development responsibilities.

“We have made significant progress in recording greater tax compliance in
the past few years.

“From 2.7million in 2011 to 4.5million taxpayers presently; this is a
significant leap and government commends residents for voluntarily and
promptly paying their taxes,” he said.

Shodipo, however, said no fewer than three million taxable adults were
still not paying taxes, appealing to evaders to fulfil their obligations in
the interest of development.

The Special Adviser said the government would continue to pursue
initiatives such as enlightenment campaigns to encourage more tax
compliance.

Shodipo debunked claims in some quarters that government was imposing
multiple taxes on incomes and businesses.

He explained that the fact that people were levied for enjoying certain
government services after their incomes had been taxed did not mean they
were paying multiple taxes.

“When you are levied by LAWMA after they have collected your refuse or you
are charged by government for processing your C of O, you are paying for
services not taxes.

“Multiple taxation is when you are charged for the same thing at the same
rate and almost at the same time. And this government has never done that,”
he said.

Mr Tunde Fowler, Chairman of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service
(LIRS), on his part, said the service was prosecuting 686 cases of tax
evasion.

He said the agency had secured approval of the courts to distrain no fewer
than 376 companies for not paying taxes.

Fowler, however, said about N771million had been realised from companies in
out-of-court arrangements with LIRS.

While commending companies that had promptly paid their taxes, he appealed
to defaulting companies to comply for the state’s development.

Fowler said the state had been spared the embarrassment of not meeting up
with its obligations because of its sound tax system.

He said when other states were owing salaries because of depleting
allocations from the Federal Government, Lagos was paying workers and
executing projects.

Fowler said government was strengthening the tax system to increase the
present Internally Generated Revenue of N23billion on the average to a
higher figure.