2nd August, 2010
Members of the Lagos State Public Service are currently at war with the Babatunde Fashola-led government over heavy taxation as civil servants are made to cough out large sums of money to pay tax from their meager earnings.
Many of them have been grumbling and complaining over this development and wanted the Lagos State Government to revisit this issue and reduce their taxes.
Taxes paid by civil servants had been increased by over 500 per cent, causing ripples at the government secretariat and the executives of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Lagos State branch have vowed to ensure that the state government reduced this obnoxious tax burden on them.
A civil servant who craved anonymity, told P.M.Newss that at the beginning of this year, he was paying N2,000 as tax and that now, he is paying about N6,000, while also lamenting that before, government used to tax the basic salary alone, but now, the gross earning was being taxed.
According to him, the situation is very unpalatable and needed to be addressed urgently in order to alleviate the plights of civil servants.
A poster placed by the association, signed by the Chairman, Comrade M.A. Oluwa and the State Secretary, Comrade A.A. Kazeem, lamented that the issue of tax deduction from workersâ€™ salaries was the latest complaint giving the association serious concern.
â€œThe issue of tax deduction was discussed with all the stakeholders, including members of the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council representing all workers in public service in Lagos State.
â€œThe Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) presented necessary tax documents and the agencyâ€™s position states that the present deductions are in agreement with what is stipulated in Income Tax Law,â€ the statement read.
According to the association, â€œwe wish to assure our esteem members that the issue of tax deduction will be pursued to its logical conclusion as labour is not in total agreement with the LIRSâ€™ position. We therefore urge all officers to keep vigil,â€ adding, â€œthe salient point that we have addressed is the fact that the hen that lays the golden egg should not be malnourished. Since the tax rebate of N10,000 on children and dependants has not been amended since 1999, the state government should be prepared to give workers appreciable subsidy on tax deduction.â€
They called on the state government to ensure that tax subsidy should be 50 per cent of the current tax deductions as applicable in some other states.
When contacted, Special Adviser to the Governor on Taxation and Revenue, Mr. Ade Ipaye, said government was not over-taxing civil servants, saying that they had looked at the pay slips of some workers and found out that government was being just in its tax regime.
According to him, government normally collects 25 per cent as tax from the public and 18 per cent from civil servantsâ€™ salaries, adding, â€œlet them bring their pay slips and I will work it out for them.â€
Ipaye insisted that government taxes gross earnings as stipulated by the Income Tax Law, stressing, â€œthere is nowhere in the Income Tax Law, where it said you should only tax the basic salaries, but we tax gross earnings. We only remove items such as housing, transportation and children and tax the rest.â€