PENGASSAN cautions JTB, state tax boards over voluntary pension contributions
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has cautioned the Joint Tax Board ((JTB) and some state internal revenue boards over their interference in the operations of voluntary Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) as stipulated in the Pensions Reform Act 2014.
PENGASSAN said that such steps by the JTB and some state boards of internal revenue could jeopardise industrial peace in the country.
Reacting to the recent advertorials by the tax authorities in some national dailies in which they threatened to impose taxes on withdrawals made by workers from their voluntary contributions, the association stated that this was contrary to the provisions of the law.
A statement by its National Public Relations Officer, Fortune Obi, said it was the National Assembly’s responsibility to amend any sections of the Act as it deemed fit and the Judiciary’s to provide interpretations where necessary.
“Hence it will be provocative for the JTB or any state tax board to usurp the powers of the legislature and the judiciary by its planned move to tax pensions withdrawals.
“The tax authorities should be reminded that tax avoidance is the arrangement of one’s financial affairs to minimise tax liability within the scope allowed by law and is distinct from tax evasion,” he stated.
Obi cited Section 4(3) of the law as amended in 2015, which provides that any employee to whom this Act applies may, in addition to the total contributions being made by him and his employer, make voluntary contributions to his retirement savings account,” among other provisions.
He noted that the tax authorities were over-stepping their boundaries in their attempt to place restrictions on withdrawals against the provisions of the law.
Obi said that the association was concerned with some aspects of the law but it has not taken the law into its hands by resorting to self-help as the tax authorities are attempting to do.
“As a law-abiding association, we are waiting for a time when the National Assembly will initiate an amendment process so that we can make our inputs to it and we hope that all stakeholders will toe the part of peace and honour,” he added.