Tax evasion and avoidance, a problem which seemed to have defied solution, has be deviled the Ekiti state tax system right from the times of separation from old Ondo state. While some have blamed the situation on tax authorities for not living up to expectation with regards to tax administration, others attribute it to the unpatriotic attitude of the taxpayers.
The study sought to identify the causes of tax evasion and avoidance amongst individual taxpayers, the way through which it is perpetrated and the social and economic consequences brought about by this problem. The research gathered data through primary source and analyzed through chi – square statistics. It was found among others, that loopholes in the tax law, poverty and lack of adequate public enlightenment are responsible for the problem. The taxpayer perpetrates this unpatriotic act through such means as concealment of profit and interference with the Revenue agents through briery and corruption. The situation results in the inability of government to render essential service adequately, creation of resentment among honest taxpayers and inequality in the society.
It was recommended that tax officials should be constantly trained and re – trained on the job and the establishment of Revenue courts by state governments having powers to impose heavy monetary penalties and criminal sanctions.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of contents
1.1 A General Description of Area of Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Statement of Objective
1.4 Relevant Research Questions
1.5 Significance of the Study
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
2.0 Literature Review
2.2 Types of Tax
2.4 Personal Income Changeable to Tax.
2.5 The Meaning of Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance
2.6 Causes of Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance
2.7 Ways by Which Tax Evasion and Avoidance
2.8 Effects of Tax Evasion and Avoidance
3.0 Research Methodology
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Re – Statement of Research Questions
3.3 Statement of Hypothesis
3.4 Characteristics of the Study Population
3.5 Sample and Sampling Method
3.6 Data Collection Equipment
3.7 Validity Test and Realizable of the Study
- Method of Analyzing Data Collected
- Limitation of the Methodology
4.0 Presentation and Analysis of Data
4.1 Data Collection and Organisation
4.2 Presentation and Analysis of Data
4.3 Data Analysis and Interpretation
According of the Test of Hypotheses
4.4 Discussion of Finding
5.1 Summary of Findings
5.3 Recommendations Bibliography
1.1 A GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF AREA OF STUDY
Tax evasion and avoidance a problem which seems to have defiled solution had bedeviled the Ekiti state tax system right from day of creation.
While some have blamed the situation on the authorities for not living up to expectation with regards to tax administration, others attribute it to unpatriotic attitude of the tax payers. It was in the light of this contending position that this research work will be carried out based on Ekiti state and individual tax payers.
The desire to uplift one’s society is the first desire of every patriotic citizen. Tax payments is a demonstration of such desire, the payment of tax is a civic duty and an imposed contribution by government on her subjects and companies to enable her finance or run utilities and perform other social responsibilities.
Personal income tax, thus, constitutes one of the major principal sources of government revenue in Ekiti state tax system.
However, one of the greatest problems facing the Ekiti state tax system is the problem of tax evasion and tax avoidance, while tax evasion is the willful and deliberate violation of the law in order to escape payment of tax which is unquestionably imposed by law of the jurisdiction, tax avoidance is the act by which the tax payer seeks to reduce or remove altogether his liability to tax without actually breaking the law.
The “twin devils” have created a great gulf between actual and potential revenue which is of great concern to Ekiti government, the government has for the umpteenth time complained wide spread incidence of tax avoidance and evasion in the state as companies and other taxable person employ various tax avoidance devices to escape payment of tax or deliberately employ fraudulent ways and means of evading tax altogether sometimes with the active connivance of the tax officials.
With increase in the level of personal income tax evasion and avoidance, this study will be looking at which way this can be stopped or reduced to the bearest minimum.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Although tax evasion and avoidance are problems that face every tax system, the Ekiti state situation seems unique when viewed against the scale of corruption practices prevalent in Ekiti state.
Under direct personal taxation as practiced in Ekiti state, the major problem lies in the collection of the taxes especially from the self employed such as businessmen, contractors, professional practitioners like doctor, accountant, architects and trader in the shop among others.
As observed by Ayua (1999), these persons blatantly refuse to pay tax by reporting losses every year. According to him, many of these professional live a lifestyle inconsistent with reported income, which is usually unrealistically low for the nature of their businesses. Civil servants and other salary workers are the only class of people that actually pay tax in Nigeria.
However, even among the salary workers, he added, many have turned the statutory personal allowance and relief into a fertile ground for tax evasion. Almost all Ekiti state taxpayer is married with four children; Similarly, despite the tax provision meant to plug loopholes through which taxable persons can minimize tax liability, the self employed person employ all kinds of avoidance schemes to minimize or escape tax liability and makes you wonder whether there are still any tax official working in that capacity. Such scenarios, no doubt, say a lot about tax administration system in Ekiti state both in its design and in the disposition of some taxpayers towards taxation.
While it immediately presupposes that there are legal frameworks put in place to punish tax evaders, it perhaps raises a poser on the efficiency and effectiveness of tax laws and tax administration in Ekiti state. Some state governments in an effort towards solving this problem had even gone to the extent of engaging the services of tax consultants. This government effort, notwithstanding, the problem of tax evasion and avoidance still persists (Alabi, 2001). There is no doubt that revenue due to any government will be reduced by the unpatriotic act of the tax evaders.
1.3 STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVE
The major objective of the study is to find ways by which Tax Evasion and Avoidance in Personal Income Tax can be curbed in Ekiti state.
The specific objectives are to:-
- evaluate the importance of personal income tax.
- present a conceptual analysis of how to tax payers in Ekiti state evade and avoid tax.
- find out factors responsible for little or no awareness of personal income tax.
- examine the impact of personal income tax on the tax payers.
1.4 RELEVANT RESEARCH QUESTIONS
For the purpose of this study, the followings are the research question carried out.
- Why is personal income tax being avoided and evaded?
- What are the factors responsible for little or no awareness of personal income tax?
- How are the various penalties implemented by state board of internal revenue?
- What are the impacts of personal income tax on the tax payers?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is vital to know that this research work will generally find solution to the existing and anticipated problem in personal income tax in Ekiti state and Nigeria at large.
It will help the Ekiti state government in collecting personal income tax with ease and the taxpayer benefiting from it through provision of social facilities and infrastructures for the state.
It will enhance the taxpayers’ understanding that tax payment is a civil duty and is being paid by a patriotic citizen of the state.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study focuses on curbing tax evasion and avoidance in personal income tax. It covers the taxpayers in Ado – Ekiti and Iworoko- Ekiti which is part of Ekiti state and administration of personal income tax by the Ekiti internal revenue board, Ado – Ekiti. It also looks at the administration of assessment, collection and challenges faced by the tax administrator. The scope can’t go beyond this area because of the cost required and also the time factor.
The limitations in this study are the difficulties encountered during the research work. In some cases, the researcher was mistaken for agent gathering information for one panel of inquiry or the other. Also, some members of staff of internal revenue of Ekiti that saw the need for this research and attended to this researchers data need do not have access to tax payers’ files and records. The issue of tax causes a lot of friction and reaction from the taxpayer, therefore many of them turn down being interviewed or filling of questionnaire.
Some that responded were not educated; therefore there is a need for translation and interpreting of questionnaire to their native dialect before they could respond.