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Rivers State Internal Revenue Service (RIRS) has set July 1, 2019 as a final plan and rollout date for the rollout of the state’s much-talked about informal sector tax drive. The state has also completed tax delineation of the state into tax zones.
The executive chairman of the RIRS, Adoage Norteh, who broke the news weekend at a full meeting with stakeholders at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, said the Nyesom Wike administration had made it clear in launching the tax drive in the informal sector. The executive chairman said he was determined to make Rivers State move into informal tax regime without violence and chaos.
He announced the formation of a committee to join the RIRS and review the policy and make suggestions.
Speaking at the meeting, Norteh told the over 300 tax group leaders that the market and business unions would help to make the drive seamless and without rancour. He said the members would represent the opinions of the informal business people and may help in collection by submitting list of their members.
He announced that the union leaders might get some commission for their effort instead of giving the money to tax consultants.
He however made it clear that the RIRS would not concede the task of tax assessment and collection to touts or untrained groups. He asked for collaboration instead.
The RIRS at the meeting forged an alliance with trade groups to fight touts. Norteh said he was determined to reduce or eliminate revenue touting in the state. He marvelled at the lamentations of groups who recounted encounters with touts that had since printed RIRS receipts and collected money in the name of the government using youth bodies, councillors and others.
He educated them once again on critical issues that bring friction between the tax authority and taxpayers. He said directors of tax were only on salaries and not the profit made by the company, which must be taxed too.
He warned against under-declaration of income, saying there were many other ways of discovering the truth because of red flags, and made it clear that though religious houses do not pay tax but their operators must be taxed for incomes they personally take home.
Some stakeholders made contributions but many urged RIRS to continue the tax education. Speaking, the president of the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA), the chief, Nabil Saleh, said Norteh has done exactly what has been lacking.
Youths made presentations and demanded to be involved in the drive but the RIRS boss explained that the agency raises money which the state government spends to develop the state.