Illegal taxes: Benue tax board seek traditional rulers intervention

The Acting Executive Chairman Benue Internal Revenue Services, (BIRS) Mr Terzungwe Atser has solicited the support of the traditional institution to end illegal and multiple taxes and levies in the state.

Speaking at separate meetings with the Tor Tiv and the Och’Idoma at their palaces in Gboko and Otukpo, the  Executive Chairman noted that the role of traditional institution in the collection of taxes can’t be over emphasized stating that the tax authority can not achieve it’s goals without the traditional rulers.

While briefing His Royal Majesty the Tor Tiv Prof James Ayatse, Mr. Atser stated that the agency has taken far reaching measures on critical tax administration and management which are aimed at reducing the burden on tax payers.

He further explained that those measures which include the reviewer of new terrify , dismantle of illegal inspection point , enforcement of Joint taskforce are in line with the tax laws and are geared towards reposition the BIRS.

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Mr. Atser however regretted that the regime of multiple or higher taxes and illegal road blocks mostly by unauthorized tax agents have adversely affected business as well as continuous dwindling of the economy of the state.

In his response, His Royal Majesty Prof. Ayatse who commended Mr, Atser for the decision to collaborate with the traditional institution and the bold steps he has taken to bring succor to the farmers and traders in the State assured that he will ensure that he get the desired support of the traditional rulers.

“With the dwindling economic fortunes in the country and the drastic drop in the federation allocation, Benue State government is on the right path by giving professionals responsibilities to perform.

“I have no doubt that as a professional know tax management and administration, you will surely excel”.

“Reports indicate so far shows that there is significant improvement in most areas that concerns the public”, he stated.

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At the Och Idoma Palace in Otukpo, Mr. Atser intimated the Paramount ruler of Idoma land,  His Royal Majesty Ochiama Idoma,  Elias I. Obekpa on the inability of the board to collect taxes at the Otukpo Central Market as result of persistent refusal of the market authorities to allow BIRS staff or agents as was the case to collect taxes.

He also informed the Och Idoma about the plan by the tax agency to commence enforcement of motor and vehicle registration which he disclosed that attention would be focused on the traditional rulers who should take the lead.

In his response, the Och Idoma said, “If properly harnessed, revenue from taxes could be used to run the state. I recall that during the era of Native Authorities, local chiefs were entrusted with responsibilities of collecting community taxes which effectively checked leakages and boosted government revenue at the time.”

He also urged the Board to decisively tackle the menace of illegal and double taxation in the state.

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