Company Income Tax and Economic Growth in Nigeria
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Chapter one on Company Income Tax and Economic Growth in Nigeria
Background to the Study
Effective tax administration is an issue as old as taxation itself. The balancing act between maximizing tax revenues and minimizing the impact on the populace in which the state must engage was evident as early as 2350 BC. The responsibility shouldered by the government of any nation, particularly the developing nations, is enormous. The need to fulfil these responsibilities largely depends on the amount of revenue generated by the government through various means.
Taxation is one of the oldest means by which the cost of providing essential services for the generality of persons living in a given geographical area is funded. Globally, governments are saddled with the responsibility of providing some basic infrastructures for their citizens. Functions or obligations the government may owe her citizens include but are not restricted to: stabilization of the economy, redistribution of income and provision of services in the form of public goods (Abiola & Asiweh, 2012). Taxation is a major source of government revenue all over the world and governments use tax proceeds to render their traditional functions, such as: the provision of roads, maintenance of law and order, defence against external aggression, regulation of trade and business to ensure social and economic maintenance (Appah & Eze, 2013). The primary function of a tax system is to raise enough revenue to finance essential expenditures on the goods and services provided by government; and tax remains one of the best instruments to boost the potential for public sector performance and repayment of public debt as enunciated by (Okoye & Raymond, 2014).
According to Azubike (2009), a system of tax avails itself as a veritable tool that mobilizes a nation’s internal resources and it lends itself to creating an environment that is conducive for the promotion of economic growth. Therefore, taxation plays a major role in assisting a country to meet its needs and promote self-reliance. In Nigeria, tax revenue has accounted for a small proportion of total government revenue over the years compared with the bulk of revenue needed for development purposes that is derived from oil (Uremadu & Ndulue 2011). The serious decline in the prices of oil in recent times has led to a decrease in the funds available for distribution to the federal, state and local governments as noted by (Nzotta, 2007). Consequently, dependence on oil as a particular or main source of revenue in Nigeria has become risky and not beneficial for sustainable economic growth. It is worse for Nigeria where there are fluctuations in prices in the oil market; thereby creating concerns amongst Nigerians and indeed the Nigerian government on the need to diversify the economy.
Naturally, and globally, there is a paradigm shift to taxation revenue as an alternative source of revenue. Nigeria is not an exception. The machinery and procedures for implementing a good tax system in Nigeria are inadequate; hence tax evasion and avoidance of the self-employed individuals and organizations whose data base is not captured in the relevant tax authority’s data system poses a great challenge and impediment to national economic growth as submitted by (Angahar & Alfred, 2012). In the findings of (Edemode 2009), the need for the government to generate adequate revenue from internal sources has therefore become a matter of extreme urgency and importance. The desire of any government to maximize revenue from taxes collected from tax payers cannot be over- emphasized. This is because, as it well-known, the importance of tax lies in its ability to generate revenue for the government, influence the consumption trends and grow and regulate economy through its influence on vital aggregate economic variables (Leyira, Chukwuma & Asian 2012).
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