COVID-19 pandemic: Tax is inevitable in our economy —Expert

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The honorary treasurer, Chartered institute of bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Lagos state branch,  Professor Godwin Oyedokun on Thursday  said tax is inevitable in the nation’s economy amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), program tagged, “effect of COVID-19 on the economy” in Ogun state, he stated that the seminar is designed to inform the members of CITN on the effect COVID-19 on businesses which tax is part of.

According to him, “tax is inevitable in our business and has its own economy benefit to be derived by the tax payer.”

He said COVID-19 has its own blessing, stating that some families had opportunity to unite for the first time.

He also said some workers never experienced slash in salary before the outbreak of the pandemic, expressing that such happened during the lockdown which makes everyone see more understanding to life and the economy itself.

According to him, “Some had a lot of plans before COVID-19 outbreak and bury some of those plans. Some utilized their precious time to increase their knowledge in certain ways.”

He said a survey conducted on more than 580 SMEs (small medium enterprise) between March 28 and April 4, 2020, showed a massive lay off in some organization sector.

He also said some SMEs shut down business while some employees were never paid at all during this pandemic.

Speaking on adopted method to survive the pandemic, he said “there are lot of measures we took which include looking Into the digital world.

“A lot of people made social media their favorite during this period and provision for online banking was made.

“Web portal was made where taxpayers can upload documents for tax payers and authority to access through digitalization.

“Despite the fact most policy and tax measures are applicable to businesses of all sizes during this unprecedented time , some are specifically targeted at SME and could significantly relieve short-term liquidity problems.

The recent data shows that 58 per cent of active SME reported a reduction in sales compared with the same month last year and over half (51 per cent) reported sales drop off more than 50 per cent.

“Many may not survive but various measures have been taken by authority to alleviate pressures created by the pandemic which includes deferral of tax payments, extension of filling deadlines, rate reduction and exemption of tax payments, waiver of interest payments and late payments penalties and expedition of refunds.”

He added that, “COVID-19 has brought many challenges to all sectors of Nigeria economy and medium-sized business felt the pandemic.

“They are struggling to survive in the current market conditions, and tax planning involves the analysis of financial situation from tax perspective with the end view of tax efficiency.”