CITN seeks government’s support to end quackery, sharp practices
The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has said the institute has the capacity to tackle sharp practices by tax professionals and eradicate quackery from the profession, but can only achieve that with the support of the government.
Speaking to newsmen during an Evening of Tribute in honour of the third President of the institute, Late Jacob Okele, organised by CITN in Lagos, the Registrar and Chief Executive, CITN, Adefisayo Awogbade, also said CITN can tame the menace if members are involved in the full practice of taxation in Nigeria.
He noted that the task for eradicating sharp practices and quackery from the taxation industry is a simple one for the institute, as it has been given the charter to regulate tax practices and administration in the country, and has procedures in disciplining defaulting members.
He maintained that though there are a lot of quacks in the profession, CITN can completely stem out quackery in the system if they get the needed support and assistance of the government as the institute can only stem out quackery if they fully regulate the profession.
His words: “This means that if only our members are involved in the full practice of taxation in Nigeria, we have procedures that we follow to discipline defaulting members. We have a fully established investigation panel that would investigate defaulting members that has been involved in gross misconduct.
“When after investigations and the member was proven to have actually carried out the act, then the member would be referred to a disciplinary tribunal and this disciplinary tribunal has equal status with that of any high court in Nigeria.
“So any member that knows that if he is investigated and found culpable and that his licence would be withdrawn, would not want to involve himself in any act that would bring the institute to disrepute.”However, Awogbade noted that CITN cannot embark on bringing members before a panel if the members have not been reported.
“We have some reported cases and their cases are still with the investigation panel but some are going to be referred to the tribunal any moment from now,” he added.
Meanwhile, speaking on the issue of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) using banks as agents to retrieve taxes from defaulters by freezing their bank accounts, he said that the act was nothing but tax substitution. He said: “Personally, am not speaking for the institute on this because the institute is about to make its position known. I view it as tax substitution because the government and FIRS knows that when taxes are normally accessed on the income of an organization then you make the company to pay what is liable to the government.
“You don’t have to forcefully collect tax through the banks as agents and in the first place, these banks has never been appointed as agents. We have approached the FIRS earlier but they said that they are keeping within their laws by maintaining lien on customers accounts.
“But the thing is that these banks are there and these tax payers are there too and they are not running away from the country. FIRS should have asked them to pay the tax due to the government and not enforcing banks to collect the money on their behalf. That is not taxation but tax substitution.”