According to reports, the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) on Wednesday in Lagos said it would begin the prosecution of tax evaders and offenders from April 1.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Executive Chairman of LIRS, Mr Olufolarin Ogunsanwo. The statement said that the full weight of the law would be brought to bear on taxable persons who failed to file requisite returns as provided by the law.
“While many taxpayers have complied willingly by filing their returns in the last months, it is disheartening to note a large fraction of eligible taxpayers are still not complying.
“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.’’
It said that LIRS had, in the last three months, embarked on massive advocacy and enlightenment programmes.
The statement said the programmes took people through a process of education on the laws bordering on tax administration and the need and benefits of paying their taxes regularly.
“We have gone further to develop various initiatives to ease the methodology of paying taxes in Lagos,” the statement said.
It said the initiatives included simplification of tax payment processes, through the compression of “Tax Form A’’ from six pages to two pages, introduction of new payment platforms and e-submission of annual returns.
The statement said all of these were focused on building convenience into the payment of taxes and subsequently promoting voluntary compliance.
“We are now going to the next phase, which is enforcement and prosecution that is taking full advantage of the provisions of the tax laws to apprehend and prosecute tax defaulters.
“We have a robust database that captures all taxable individuals and firms in Lagos State as well as transactions for the purpose of audit, so there is no hiding place for any tax evader.”
The statement called on every taxable person in the state to take advantage of the window on or before the March 31 deadline to ensure their tax returns were duly filed.
It said that the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice would, through the Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit, begin the prosecution of tax defaulters without further notice.
According to the statement, all tax evaders and offenders, upon prosecution, may be fined or imprisoned or made to face both as provided in the Personal Income Tax Act. (NAN)