This is a press statement from the office of the Attorney General and commissioner, Ministry of Justice, signed by the Chief Public Affairs officer, in Lagos state, Bola Akingbade.
The Lagos State Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit has begun prosecution of recalcitrant tax payers in the State.
The State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem who disclosed this on Monday, said that The Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit has filled all the necessary information at the State High Court for the arraignment of 28 tax defaulters referred by the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) and prosecution has begun in earnest.
He said their offences ranges from failure to furnish and file tax return to failure to pay personal tax to the State.
The Lagos AG said that these offences violate the Personal Income Tax Act 2004 as amended and the Lagos State Revenue Administration law.
“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 organization, 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.” Kazeem said.
He said that the Lagos State Government established the Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit to aid the LIRS in its drive to collect taxes, and warned members of the public to cooperate with tax officers as obstruction of these tax officers in their lawful duty can and will lead to prosecution.
Kazeem said the enforcement of the tax laws became necessary because a large number of Lagosians have not paid their taxes.
He said tax evaders and offenders, upon prosecution, may be fined or imprisoned or made to face both as provided in the Personal Income Tax Act.