The Lagos State Government on Monday said it had filed all necessary processes 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.
Disclosing this, the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, said that the state rapid tax prosecution unit has begun prosecution of 28 tax defaulters in the state.
The offences which violate the Personal Income Tax Act 2004 as amended and the Lagos State Revenue Administration law, ranges from failure to furnish and file tax return, to failure to pay personal tax to the state.
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 31), while every employer of labour is required to file all emoluments paid to its employees for the preceding year, not later than January 31 each year.
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The attorney-general further explained that 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.
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.
According to Kazeem, the enforcement of tax laws became necessary because a large number of Lagosians had not paid their taxes. Therefore, tax evaders and offenders, upon prosecution, may be fined or imprisoned or made to face both as provided in the Personal Income Tax Act.