We’re not taxing religious bodies – Edo IRS

We’re not taxing religious bodies – Edo IRS

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The Edo State Internal Revenue Service has denied planning to impose tax on religious bodies operating in the state. The Edo IRS described the rumour of such plan as false and misleading information calculated to launch a campaign of calumny against the service by unscrupulous people.
The acting Chairman of the EIRS, Mr. Emmanuel Usoh, in a chat with our correspondent in Benin, disclosed that it was the policy of the revenue services nationwide to abide by the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and the various Federal Tax Laws.
According to him, “The present administration in Edo State has no intention, whatsoever, of taxing any religious house of worship, such as Churches, Mosque and all other religious houses of worship, since they are under the categories as charitable organisations exempted from paying taxes”.
He, however, said that if such bodies were engaged in any enterprise, which employed labour and paid salaries to its employees, they would be liable to remit the ‘Pay As You Earn’ tax from such employees to the relevant authority as stipulated by the law.
Reeling out statistics, Usoh stated that of an estimated population of about 2.5 million people, only 171,000 persons currently paid tax in Edo State, emphasising that there was a difference between taxes and other forms of payments such as levies, rates, fees and fines, as provided for in the National Tax policy and the various laws guiding tax regulations in Nigeria.
He said that the payment of such taxes could not collectively be referred to as double taxation.
The EIRS boss added that taxes were paid on income earned while the other revenue items, already listed, were not taxes on income but were imposed for the use of utilities, infrastructure, right of way or activities within a particular area as prescribed by the law.
The acting chairman, however, assured that the Edo State Government would not promote any programme or tax policy that would damage the cordial relationship, which the government had with religious bodies in the State.
Usoh, therefore, appealed to residents of the state to refrain from making or listening to misguided statements or rumour aimed at scoring cheap political points.

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