Do you operate a business in Nigeria? Ever been confronted by revenue officials at your business premises to pay taxes or levies you weren’t aware of? The fact is that in most State and local government areas, there is yet to be a unified tax payment system for taxpayers. That explains situations where certain levies are signed into law with little or no public notification to that effect. On the other hand, we have cases of fraudsters who extort unsuspecting business owners with levies unknown to law. There’s however no need for alarm. Here’s what to do in situations where you are caught unawares;
1. DEMAND FOR PROPER IDENTIFICATION.
It’s your legal right to demand for proper identification and it’s a revenue officer’s duty to disclose their identity especially on formal assignments such as this.
On most occasions however, what amounts to a proper identification is subjective. However, your discretion and common sense comes to play in this case. Its important to stress at this point, the importance of diplomacy in your dealings. By all means get information about them to hold on to in the event things go south.
2. OBTAIN A TAX ASSESSMENT NOTICE.
A tax assessment notice helps a taxpayer know what He or She is liable for as well as when and how to make payment. A tax assessment notice discloses information such as; agency Code, revenue name, revenue code of the revenue the taxpayer is paying for. The structure of such notice may vary from one location to another, but the contents and purpose it serves are to a large extent similar.
Should they fail to give you a notice, request for details of the revenue office address from which the levy was issued. Which brings me to my next point.
3. VERIFY THE TAX ASSESSMENT IS GENUINE.
It’s your right as a taxpayer to object to any tax assessment notice that you believe to be inconsistent with business activities as provided by tax laws. To do that, visit the relevant revenue office as provided on the assessment notice. That way, you’ll be able to ascertain whether or not such notice was a fraud or genuine.
4. PAY INTO THE GOVERNMENT REVENUE ACCOUNT ONLY.
Where such levy is genuine, you’ll be given payment details to that effect. As a matter of policy, all government revenue MUST be paid directly by taxpayers into the designated Government Revenue Bank Account. Revenue officers or contractors are prohibited from handling cash!