EXAMINATION OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (TIN) IN COMBATING TAX EVASION IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF LAGOS STATE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE)

1.1 Background to the Study

Taxes, and tax systems, are fundamental components of government revenue generation. Brautigam (2008) noted that taxes underwrite the capacity of states to carry out their goals. They form one of the central arenas for the conduct of state-society relations, and they shape the balance between accumulation and redistribution that gives states their social character. Thus, taxes build capacity to provide security, meet basic needs or foster economic development and they build legitimacy and consent, helping to create consensual, accountable and representative government. A key component of any tax system is the manner in which it is administered (Naiyeju, 2010). Bahi and Bird (2008) states that no tax is better than its administration, so tax administration matters a lot, and an essential objective of tax administration is to ensure the maximum possible compliance by taxpayers of all types with their taxation obligations. Unfortunately, in many countries, tax administration is usually weak and characterized by extensive evasion, corruption and coercion.

 In many cases overall tax levels are low, and large sectors of the informal economy escape the tax net entirely (Brautigani, Fjelftand and Moore, 2008). A nation’s tax system is often a reflection of its communal values and the values of those in power (Ross, 2007). Thus, to create a system of taxation, a nation must make choices regarding the distribution of the tax burden and how the taxes collected will be spent. In democratic nations where the public elects those in charge of establishing the tax system like Nigeria, these choices reflect the type of community that the public or government wish to create. Parkin (2006) states that in countries where the public does not have a significant amount of influence over the system of taxation, that system may be more of a reflection on the values of those in power as governments use different kinds of taxes and vary the tax rates. This is done to distribute the tax burden among individuals or classes of the population involved in taxable activities, such as businesses, or to redistribute resources between individuals or classes in the population.

Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is a 10 (ten) digit number that is unique to each taxpayer in Nigeria, for every individual and corporate organization i.e. taxable entities that earn a steady income. The Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is a platform which will harmonize taxpayer identification and registration in Nigeria; it will create closer linkage between the various tax authorities in Nigeria and, will aid corporation, information sharing and increase revenue generation accruing to all tiers of the governments (JTB Bulletin, 2011). Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is an initiative of the Joint Tax Board (JTB) in collaboration with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the 36 State Boards of Internal Revenue (SBIR). It is an electronic system of taxpayers’ registration, which would uniquely identify all taxpayers and would be available nation wide. The Joint Tax Board (JTB) is provided with the responsibility (as amended in section 8(q)(d) of the Personal Income Tax Act and section 8(q) of the Federal Inland Revenue Service establishment Act 2007), to ensure collaboration in the issuance and administration of Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) to all taxable entities. It equally creates a national platform for the registration and allocation of an identification number to all taxpayers to aid effective tax administration process. However, it is a well known fact that tax administration in Nigeria has been faced with issues and challenges ranging from non- identification, registration and compliance of taxpayers. This inherent problem is also associated with the implementation of Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) program in our tax system.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

One of the problems of tax administration in the three tiers of government in Nigeria is the improper identification of tax bases by the three tiers of government. The inability of the government to properly track all income by individuals and corporate entities eligible to pay tax has contributed to the decrease in revenue accruable to the government (Ross, 2004) The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended 2010, provides an approved list of taxes and levies accruable to the three ties of governments respectively, but there are several court cases in respect of some tax bases often between the Federal and some State governments for instance, the case between the Federal and Lagos State government on tax consumption.

Hence, the need arise to assess the effects of application of the taxpayer identification number on internally generated revenue and tax payment in Lagos State.

1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY.

The main objective of the study is the examination of the effectiveness of tax Identification Number in Combating tax evasion in Lagos state, Nigeria.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS.

What is the meaning of Tax Identification Number?

What is tax evasion?

How effective has Tax Identification been in Curbing tax evasion

?

What is the effect of Tax Identification Number on Tax evasion in Nigeria?

1.5 SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY.

This study will help in finding solution to the effect of Tax Identification Number on Tax evasion in Nigeria.

1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY.

The study focus on the examination of the effectiveness of Tax Identification Number in combating tax evasion in Lagos state, Nigeria.

 

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