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Ex-CITN boss recommends Swedish tax system to FG

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Prof. Teju Somorin, former President, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), on Thursday called for emulation of the Swedish tax system by the Federal Government.

She made the call while delivering the Fourth Inaugural Lecture of Caleb University, Imota, Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Somorin, the first female professor of Taxation in Nigeria, spoke on the topic: ‘Tax Payers; Voices, Disconnect and Tax Compliance’.

According to her, a 2016 survey shows that even though the Swedes are noted for high personal taxes, the Swedish Tax Agency (STA) scores high in customer service and contributes positively to the society.

“One might expect that the STA that grabs about a third of the average hardworking Swede’s pay packet would be public enemy, but ‘No’.

“The truth is that the STA is so popular that results of poll after poll are showing that it is trusted and respected.

“A 2016 survey by a market research institute, TSN Sifo, concluded that the STA has the fifth best reputation, scoring highly for its customer service and for contributing positively to the society,” she said.

According to her, tax authority is expected to treat a tax payer with courtesy and consideration at all times, and will, in normal circumstances, be of assistance in tax matters.

She said the tax office must strive to help the tax payers to understand and meet the tax obligation, and explain to them the reasons for decisions made by the tax authority concerning their affairs.

Somorin, who is also the immediate past President of the West African Union of Tax Institutes (WAUTI), urged the CITN to act according to its charter in ensuring that the roles of tax advisers are professionally carried out.

The professor of Taxation explained that a good tax system should ensure that taxes were passionate and certain rather than being arbitrary, and the method of paying taxes convenient for tax payers.

“This includes offering to tax payers electronic systems for filing and paying taxes, merging taxes with the same tax base, allowing for self assessment and having a clear and efficient process for refunding VAT cash and undergoing tax audit,” she said.

Somorin noted that a good tax system must also have the support of its tax payers and the  tax advisor who would assist them.

According to her, without this support, widespread voluntary compliance will be hard to achieve.

She identified factors that could affect the level of tax compliance as economic, technological and legal developments of tax administration, as well as trust in government and the satisfaction which tax payers get in return.

 

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