The Chairman of the Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue, Adoage Norteh, has said that taxpayers in Rivers State are partners in the development of the state.
Norteh said that Rivers State has a friendly tax regime for taxpayers in the state.
He also said that the state has had an increased revenue base owing to its friendly tax regime.
The chairman of the State Board of Internal Revenue said this in a radio programme in Port-Harcourt monitored by our Correspondent at the weekend.
He said that the state enjoys an increasing revenue base because of its friendly tax regime and friendly relation with taxpayers in the state.
He said: “We see taxpayers as partners, as contributors to development (of Rivers State) and this is why we have a friendly (tax) regime since we came on board. We (also) try as much as possible to educate taxpayers so that taxpayers understand that we don't see them as enemies”.
He said that he has tried to increase the revenue base of the state since he was appointed chairman of the State Board of Internal Revenue.
Norteh said that his relationship with taxpayers in the state is cordial, but stated that those who do not enjoy good relationship with him are those who do not want to pay their taxes.
He said that he had engaged taxpayers in Rivers State since he became chairman of the State Board of Internal Revenue.
He said: “When I came (into office), the first thing I did was to visit some very important taxpayers, those we call very high contributors. I visited them in their offices. After that, I've talked to various trade groups. I've talked to the organized private sector. I've engaged PHACCIMA (Port-Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture). I've engaged lawyers. I've engaged different classes of people, talking with them, because I think that the most critical challenge in tax collection is perhaps ignorance. I call it ignorance for want of word to call it otherwise I will say inadequate information”.
He said that tax payment is based on one's income which means that those who earn low income will pay a small amount of tax while those who earn high income will also pay a big amount of tax.
Norteh said that levies and fees are not taxes, explaining that any payment made for benefiting from something or for not doing something “does not fit into the strict definition of tax”.
He said that some people have “inadequate information” on the collection and payment of tax in Rivers State, saying that the Board has embarked on a campaign to sensitize taxpayers in Rivers State and also enlighten them so that they will not be victims of fake tax collectors in the state.
He said that the state government has promoted the ease of doing business in Rivers State, adding that the State Board of Internal Revenue has also created the right atmosphere for the ease of doing business in the state.
Norteh who said that there is no more harassment of taxpayers in Rivers State through double taxation as it used to be in the past, said that the tax regime in the state has changed and is friendly to taxpayers.