THE DETERMINANTS OF TAX PAYERS ATTITUDE IN SOME SELECTED STATES (NIGERIA)

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ABSTRACT

In the tax administration of any country, in-depth knowledge of tax paying attitude is very pertinent. This is very consistent with this study the determinants of tax payers attitude in Nigeria and whose purpose was to examine the variables that account for the attitudes of tax payers and to ascertain whether or not such determinants allow for the payment compliance, in view of tax assessment. A sample size of 320 taxable adults were selected from four (4) states in Nigeria as representative of the taxpayers population. Chi-square tool of analysis was adopted to test the hypotheses. As a consequence, a significant relationship was revealed between religious beliefs and willingness to honour tax obligation. Also, it as found that family pressure has a relationship with taxpayers’ attitude, while compliance was shown between tax assessment and the Nigeria tax law. On discussion of these findings, it was recommended that government should ensure equitable distribution of the nation’s wealth to justify the money collected from tax and that government should equally provide meaningful social infrastructure to reflect the money paid; moreover, government was expected to give adequate attention to financing education, to eradicate illiteracy and create employment. Finally, an ethical element in tax planning has been suggested for further study to stress the effect of tax avoidance and tax evasion.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

          In developed economies of the world, taxation provides the bulk of government revenue for administration and development. Some goods and services that are consumed by private sector cannot be equal amount. These include social and economic infrastructures like health services, basic education, motorable roads, the maintenance of law and order and the provision of public utilities. These are goods which structure is such that the consumption of the products by various individuals is non-rival in the sense that one person’s partaking of the benefits does not reduce the benefit available to another (Musgrave:1985:10). That is, the benefit derived by one person is externalized, in that. It becomes available to another person at the same time (Umoh:1997:24).

          The private sector cannot provide these types of goods (social goods), the structure of the goods provided by them is internalized, and the benefit of consumption excludes consumption by another… “the market mechanism is well suited for the provision of private goods” Musgrave (1985:10). It is based on exchange and this can occur only where there is an exclusive title to property, which is to be exchanged. It furnishes a signaling system where by procedures are guided by consumer demands.

          On the other hand, it is inefficient to exclude any consumer from partaking of the benefit of social goods when it is quite obvious that participation would not reduce consumption by another regardless of earning differential. However, the provision of these social and economic infrastructures and other complementary facilities obviously requires financial resources and supply of which is from the imposition of tax.     

          Inspite of the multiple benefits of taxation creation amongst the populace, taxable persons are still cajoled and compelled to pay their taxes. They seem to put up resistance that create the impression that they are not happy paying the tax or that they are paying more than they are receiving in terms of social amenities.

          As a further measure to reduce the assumed tax burden and motivate the people to be tax-active, the Federal Government in the 1998 budget announced tax relied and allowances packages whose entitlement does not discriminate against gender, provided there is no two allowance claim by husband and wife on the same child for children allowance; exemption of the capital gains tax on gains from worker whose total annual income is below N30,000 from paying tax, abrogation of disposal of the scope of graduate rates; taxing gas development projects under companies income tax Act of petroleum profit tax act; the extension of gas utilization down stream operations to industrial projects, extension of the initial tax holiday period of three years to five years; transmission of gas at zero percent Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and zero percent royalty etc.

          These fiscal measures enunciated have not only the potential of reducing tax burden but also to stimulate production and generate employment thereby fostering economic advancement. But this requires the voluntary compliance, no matter how reduced the burden is whether at the individual or at the corporate level.

          Most people take pleasure in evading tax, others exhibit recalcitrant disposition when it comes to fulfilling their tax obligation, a situation which Naiyeru in his article titled “Taxation and Economic Development” attributed to value orientation (Naiyeru 1988). According to Brain and Paul (1996:269-287) “the lack of adequate and imperfect information process is responsible for this situation (i.e. Tax agent, tax payer of conflict). He further asserts that the tax agent is ignorant of what the taxpayer is to pay, since he or she cannot capture a complete and accurate assessment of what he owed. Corporate taxpayers have elaborate records which are simply too voluminous to analyze completely and individual taxpayer may have no records at all. Situations like this compel the revenue agent to look beyond the superficial appearance as presented in the tax forms and the supporting documentation. Records can be forged and books can be cooked, so the revenue agent must adopt a skeptical stance that gives to the informal motto of the tax examination division (Audit the taxpayers not the return” Brain (1996:15).     

 Inspite of the aforementioned and bearing in mind several investigations already conduct on issues relating to taxation in Nigeria, a missing link which is very conspicuous has been a complete lack of an empirical perception or study on the determinants of tax payers behaviour. It is based on this premise that the study anchors. Therefore, attempts shall be made to adequately delve into these determinants to unravel how they influence attitudes of taxpayers’ payments.

THE DETERMINANTS OF TAX PAYERS ATTITUDE IN SOME SELECTED STATES (NIGERIA)