#Cross River: tax reliefs granted in heat of pandemic has expired

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Executive Chairman of Cross River State Internal Revenue Service (CRIRS) Mr. Akpanke Ogar has announced the expiration of the structured tax relief regime for businesses in the state.

The tax relief was granted tax-payers by the state government last year in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

The state internal revenue boss spoke in Calabar at the opening of a two-day workshop on 2021 Annual Tax Week in Calabar, with the theme, “Understanding Emerging Issues in the Nigeria Tax Environment: Enhancing Voluntary Compliance”.

He explained that the tax relief had expired in December 2020, explaining that there were various incentives, which the state government granted to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the people and businesses.

“Now, the economy has started picking up and so, the special relief has expired and we are now aiming to sensitise and enlighten tax payers on their rights and for them to know the taxes and levies accruable to the state and to the local governments.

“For instance, if you are in transportation business, you get to know the taxes you are due to pay to the state government and the ones for the local government.  So, it’s a workshop to know what they are supposed to pay and to know their rights and obligations.”

Ogar said people have to get back paying taxes as COVID has eased up, adding that there was no plan to increase taxes in the state even though the state government lost revenue in billions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He added: “Rather we are trying to expand the tax base by getting more payers into the tax net. Our focused is sensitising people on the need to pay taxes. That is part of the partnership we have with the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.”

He said out of population of over three million, the revenue office projects that there may be about 1.5 million persons that are economically active and should be under the tax net. But what is currently under the tax net in the state is about 500,000 tax payers.

“So, our aim is to increase the number in the tax net, not increment of taxes.”

Also speaking, the National President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Mr. Adesina Adedayo, who was represented by Samuel Agbeluyi q, the institute’s Vice President as well as the Cross River State chapter chairman, Comrade Akpa Ogon, noted that the CITN has been interacting and consulting with the tax administrators and consultants towards improving the low level of voluntary compliance in tax payment to grow the tax revenue.

They expressed pleasure to be in partnership with the state government and reiterated that there is need for people to voluntarily comply with tax law policies and requirements.

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