The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has begun the distribution of its stamp and seal to its certified members, just few months after it emerged that tax returns without the institute’s authentications would be rejected.
The presentation marks the full kick off of the implementation of the new directive that all tax returns to the Federal Inland Revenue Service must bear the stamp and seal of the institute, showing that declarations have been certified by a professional tax practitioner.
The President of CITN, Chief Cyril Ede, in an interview with media source, said the stamp and seal presented to deserving members stand as an appointment, acknowledgement and authority of the institute to practice taxation in the country.
They will use it to certify all the tax jobs they have done, as well as part of efforts to contain quackery, because the seal cannot be given to people who are not certified by the institute.
Noting that FIRS is deeply interested in effective taxation in the country, he pointed out that the move has the support of FIRS, although the agency is mainly for tax administration, while CITN is for tax practice.
“They know that CITN is their body. The Chairman of the board of the FIRS knows that CITN is the body of tax administrators and practitioners and they respect what we are doing.
“They send their people here for training and certifications, help us organise our conferences and for the government. It has been established that it is only the seal of CITN that actually should be used in tax returns, although some people are still contesting it.
“This institute is the only one certified by law and to control taxation profession in all its ramifications. So, we are battling it with the people who are protesting, who think that we shouldn’t be given that alone. In England, the practice of taxation derives authority from the institute of taxation. We have been doing our best to let everyone know.
“We look forward to seeing genuine tax professionals and those who represent the institute and they will also be recognised because tax is taking a very wide dimension in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.
“The government has also realised that taxation is the backbone of the nation. No matter what it gets from oil, none of them can be steady as taxation and it can never be replaced by anything because from time immemorial tax was there.
“What we are doing is to refine the system and the process and to make sure that taxation is done in a civilized way and that people understand because once you know that tax is a must, the best thing for you is to learn it and do it very well,” he said.
While the institute’s yearly tax conference has come and gone, the tax expert said the body is now pressing the government to ensure that tax issues are appropriately stated in the nation’s fiscal plans.
“We have difficulties because tax laws are not reviewed for years. In fact, since the return to civil rule, only two times have the tax laws been adjusted. So, we want tax to be reviewed and tax to be included in a proper budget process so that each year, everybody will know what is on the table for tax and the government itself.
“Tax is law and you cannot impose any tax without passing a law on it. So the best way we suggested is to include it n the annual budget so that once you pass the budget, you pass the tax law that will reign for that year.
“Because tax is very dynamic, it cannot be left to last for a very long time, as taxation goes with the prevailing economic environment. So, if you are doing it on a yearly basis, you will be capturing the environment and the economic situation of the country and then you will be able to ensure that the tax is effective,” he added.