By Dennis Agbo
THE Tax Appeal Tribunal, TAT, has warned petitioners that it was not susceptible to inducements and would only continue to treat appeals before it on their merits.
The Tribunal also said that it does not use technicalities to adjudicate matters before it, but dispense them meritoriously; noting that matters before it do not last beyond three months before judgments are delivered on them.
Chairman of TAT South East zone, Mr. Chukwuemeka Eze made the disclosures in a stakeholder’s interactive forum on challenges and solutions of tax administration held in Enugu, Wednesday.
Eze also clarified that the tribunal was not an extension of Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, even though it was established by the ministry of Finance to deal on matters arising from taxation.
He particularly said that the tribunal was established to resolve disputes among tax payers and their administrators.
“There are instances that even the government and their agencies have lost petitions brought to us. We don’t take bribes, yes you can’t settle us. We have sworn to serve our father land,” Eze stated.
He said that Nigerians had lived in the past glory of not paying taxes due to the sharing of federal allocation, but emphasised that any serious society desirous of development needs to be tax conscious.
In his contribution, the Chairman of Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Emeka Odo said “the poor hardly pay taxes. It is the rich that have business enterprises, properties and concerns that pay taxes.
“We are looking for how to increase tax net in Enugu state so that more people can pay taxes. If you must enjoy social services in the state, you would have to pay tax and obtain your Enugu State Benefit Number, ESBN. If you don’t have income, we won’t tax you, but if you have, we will tax you.”
Former President of Enugu Chamber of Commerce Mines and Agriculture, ECCIMA, Pastor Olisemeka Jideonwo called for closer collaboration between tax administrators and the business community, so that taxation would not rob off on employment opportunities.