Taxation as a Source to Government Funding

Taxation as a Source to Government Funding

Taxation as an aspect of Government Fiscal Policy – According to Nwoke (1993:1) taxation can be defined as the imposition of an obligatory levy or contribution of an individual or corporate donate by recipient, public authority. Two important attributes of taxation are that the levying authority posses the legal capacity to do so since taxation is a legal policy and it evolves an element of compulsion as opposed to voluntaries.

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The bedrock of industrialization and economic development of any country is government revenue. How much of this revenue is contributed by tax? According to Nwoke (1992:12) in all, taxes constitute about (75%) seventy five percentage of regular government revenue and about ¾ of public expenditure is founded from tax revenue. As a major instrument of public policy, taxation can be used as protective, allocation, and distributive or stabilization instrument. Taxation may be employed to expand, stimulate, restrict, or regulate the economy depending on the direction the government wants to. One may be tempted to question the rationate behind government intervention in the economy especially the capitalist economy. Where the invisible hands of market forces should have been allowed to arbitrate as it deems fit.

The simple reason for time to time government intervention is that it’s necessary to bring in some form of administrative control in the economic system. The maker mechanism above cannot perform all the economic functions.

Government intervention is therefore needed to guide, correct and supplement it in certain aspects. Through the intervention, necessary conditions for the functioning of the market mechanism is secured: the issue of “ market failure” is addressed exist are prevented. It has been observed that the market system, no matter how technologically developed and efficient, does not, of its own lead to goals of full employment of actors and resources price level stability and socially acceptable rate of economic growth. Experience has shown that the economy needs to be guided to attain these goals.

If for instance the government want to raise more fund for the execution of some additional projects at many increase personal income tax at may impose a super profit tax on corporate. No raise of company income tax (C.J) It may reduce or withdraw subsides on Agriculture or petroleum products as we are taxes on some luxury products.


Tax as a major source of revenue in Nigeria content calls for greater attention in both state and federal Government Budget.

The tax collected from all sources comes back to taxpayers in form of social amenities provided for them. Income tax has definitely private sector depending upon weather the policy of the government is gingered towards discouraging or encouraging such companies. It reduces the net return on investment and also decreased balance available for unnecessary private saving.

Taxation is an all-pervading subject which affects the lives of nearly everybody and no major accountancy or legal problem can be satisfactory sowed with out consideration of its tax aspect. Benjamin Franklin a state man and a philosopher observed that in this rooted, nothing is certain but death and taxes.

Taxation is particular important to businessmen who enjoy the benefits of these essential amenities provided by the government.

Also Read: Taxation in Nigeria – Origin and Importance of Taxation in Nigeria

Income case has its own merits in the personal relief granted to taxpayers. Tax is also used to allocate resource for the production so social goods.

Social goods are goods whose benefits are not limited to the particular consumer who purchases it as in the case of private goods. Through taxes funds can be allocated or denied for the production of certain private goods. These corrections are done through tax policies, tax holidays, and acceleration capital allowance dating drawbacks excess profit tax.

Other forms of tax are used to alleviate the social burden of poverty on the poor. It may be achieved by a tax transfer scheme, which progressively taxes high income in order to provide some form of subsidy to the low-income earners. Under this, the rate of taxation increases with income, thus the higher the income the higher the percentage paid as tax.

Through tax transfer scheme the government identifies some goods and services largely enjoyed by the low-income group and transfers the extra income form progressive taxation to finance subsidy on such goods and services.

Other ways the social burden of poverty can be alleviated include progressive taxation for the funding of public services financing public service particularly those most beneficial to low-income earners of the society may also be obtained from tax proceeding.

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Public services such as Government mass Transit system, public housing schemes, free or subsidized health care delivery system and a lot of others are all accomplished through tax.

Mostly the high-income earners at times deliberately directed towards the re-alignment of income by taxing those goods purchase taxation. While at the same subsidizing those goods enjoyed mainly by low-income group by progressive tax matter the redistribution of income is perfectly done through taxation. The Nigeria taxation policy heavily taxed such luxury items like satellite dishes, Mercedes Benz cars, ‘V’ boot brand part-finder etc. simultaneously the import duties on Mass Transit cars or spare parts for buses used for mass transportation attracts little or no tax in a bid to help the poor.

Another important follow up in the newly introduced value Added Tax in Nigeria where all essential goods are zero rated while their luxury goods attract 5% flat rated tax as value added. It’s reasoned that one “ the have” enjoy the luxury items while the “ wretched of the earth” mostly enjoy the essentials. This objective is to help the poor and not to stop the rush.

Taxation is also an instrument for the stabilization of the economy. Directing taxation policy toward achieving a socially acceptable rate of economic growth, maintaining a stable price level, and achieving full employment does this.

Unemployment as under employment are other economic disability often fought by the government through the use to taxation policy. For instance, a reduction of taxation rates and factor imports effectively tackles unemployment problem caused by high cost of factor imports. Similarly unemployment caused by an enlighten unavailability of the factors in the regular market cannot be resolved by tax relieves rather tax measures that encourage attentive sourcing of the materials are most desirable.

Such tax measures are granting of tax holidays, accelerated capital allowance on depreciation.

One can equivocally say that if the government can achieve the aforementioned objectives through taxation policy, they are all economic development in-toto. Taxation policy is also used to protect local industries and thus ensure their growth.

Government many achieve this through the imposition of high tariffs on imported substitutes to locally manufactured goods in order to maker the price of the former very repellent to local consumers.

Tax system is also selectively employed to influence private investment may remove taxes on agricultural implement such as tractors fertilizers etc in order to encourage investment agricultural sectors and this increase food production. Government may grant tax holidays to agro-allied industries in favour of the populace.

On the other hand, high tax rate can be used to stifle the growth of industries considered to be to little or no social relevance to the society. Instances are tobacco and alcohol industries. On a general note therefore, the stimulation of aggregate demand and supply leads to general economics growth whereas the contradiction of aggregate demand and supply through tax policies shows down the growth of the economy.

Generally tax adjustment are used to influence consumption and investment. Tax rates may be used to affect the overall level of demand and supply or to direct and channel demand and supply to achieve flamed targets.


A tax formula at least contains three elements

  1. The definition of the base
  2. The rat structure and
  3. The identification of the legal taxpayer

The base (of income) multiplied by the appropriate rage gives a product called the tax liability, which is an obligation that the taxpayer must meet at specific areas. The rate structure is dependents on the base.

Adams smith, in his “ wealth of Nations” 1976 set out the four principles of taxation which emphasized:

a)     Equity

b)    Certainty

c)     Convince

d)    Economy.

Reference to Equity, Smith said than an individual ought to be taxed in proportion to the revenue he enjoys under the protection of the state.

On certainty, he argued that the rate of taxation should be certain but not arbitrary, the time of payment, the manner of payment the quantity paid all ought to be very clear to the taxpayers concerned.

Regarding convince, Smith maintained that the method of collection should be convince to both the collector and the contributor.

In his last principle, on Economy, he said that a tax system must adequate precaution to ensure that it does not make the economic situation worse off. It must take cognizance of the citizen as an investor, consumer and saver and must not affect adversely the economic contributions of the person taxed. Neither should it lead to disincentive of effort nor undesirable features like inflations.

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Following the dynamic nature of our economic, social and political development since Smith days, his guidelines are no longer adequate. New days, complex methods of measuring economic strength have evolved, the concept of just ice have charged pro-founding, taxation has won democratic control, tax administration has vastly improved and economic system have become enormously more complex and independent. The sense of social responsibility has changed and with it, the role of government here changed and increased. In respect of these changes, the functions of taxation have been broadened and recast by modern economists. The canons instance with modern circumstances may be re- examined under the following four major headings:

a)     Social Justice

b)    Consistency with economic growth

c)     Ease of administration

d)    Revenue adequacy

Professor Kal Dor (1993,28) stressed the use of a tax system to provide incentives to private investments. He further reiterated the need to use tax concessions to attract foreign investment. To him a great deal of the prevailing concern with incentives is misplaced except in particular cased where the granting of the concessions of to foreigners may increase the flow to capital from abroad. It is the shortage of resources and not inadequate incentives, which limits the pace of economic development form the point of view of accelerated economic development could hardly be exaggerated.

Professor Due, an expert on consumption as basis of taxation in his review of the fiscal system of eight African countries show a general concern over restricting the incentive to work, to participate in the market economy, to save and to develop and expand businesses.

Professor Walker (1970) emphasized more on equity considerations, the minimization of costs of collection and the need for the public to appreciate the linkage that exist between tax burdens and benefits.

The United Nations organization (authorities public finance) in her own recommendation outlined that objective of

Taxation’s in developing countries as follows: –

  1. To correct excessive and harmful inequalities in the distribution of income thereby expanding internal market and reducing the amounts of unessential inputs.
  2. To counter possible inflation that might occur as a result of economic development.
  3. To provide incentives for the desirable types of development projects thus helping to steer development into the correct direction and
  4. To increase the total revenue of saving available for economic development.


1.       The Benefit Theory

This theory postulates that tax should be paid related to the benefit devices from it by taxpayers. This would imply that those who benefit more should pay more. The difficulty internet in this is how can one rule and divide the quantity of benefit derived by cash taxpayer. This can still be done through indirect tax payment. This is paid once one buys any essential commodity.

2.       The Financial Theory

This theory sees tax as a means of obtaining money to carry on the affairs of the state. The exponents of this view are concerned not so much with equity of the method of the collection but with the acquisition of revenue as expediency as possible. It commends itself to Finance Minster who prefers to follow the line of least resistance.

3.       The Social –Political Theory

The supporter of this view sees tax as a means of reducing inequalities of incomes. This also implied the utilization of fiscal measures to stimulate production process. The theory tend to commend the varying upward review of rate of tax so that as your income them your rate of tax payment rises too.

4.       The Sumptuary Theory

This theory assess that tax should be a means of limiting private expenditure of money on what is considered unnecessary extravagant and frivolous items which are not in the best interest of the community at large. In this respect certain commodity taxes and purchase taxes are sometimes imposed to restrict expenses.


There are two district tax payable in Nigeria and they include, direct and indirect taxes.


These are taxes charged directly on individuals, they include pay as you earn (PAYE) personal income tax, withholding tax from companies, Petroleum profit tax, Capital tax, Capital gains tax and Poll tax.

“Pay as you earn” is a scheme that organizes income tax on wages and salaries of employees of Government and private companies. The income tax is chargeable to all employees and it’s usually collected by the employer and remitted to the Board of internal Revenue of the relevant state. PAYE is deducted at source before the monthly salary is paid and members of the Nigeria Army, Air Force, Navy, and Police together with officers of the external affairs are not under the PAYE system.


          Is a kind of direct assessment tax paid by all self-employed persons such as businessmen, farmers’ etc. every year persons changeable are expected to submit to the relevant tax authority, their income for the year. It from this income that they assessed and taxed. The total income tax for the year contributes a significant proportion of the state government revenue for the period.

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This is the tax on a company’s profit. This tax is also progressive in nature. Because the higher the income (receipt) or profits from business activities, the higher the tax and vice versa.

It also appears that tax avoidance and evasion is lower here when compared with the personal income tax, because to the Federal Governments insistence on the submission of tax certificates with respect to any official value involving companies.


This has remained the most important revenue item not only under the direct tax, but also among all revenue items, since the introduction in Nigeria from 1959. This single tax item has been accounting for over 70% of Government revenue for many years now.  Only the oil producing companies are paying this type the tax.

CAPITAL TAX: (Capital Transfers Tax):

Capital taxes are imposed on property and other capital assets. These taxes are paid either yearly or at particular times. For instance when a person dies, his assets are subject to capital tax in this case the term death duty or estate dirty is used before the assets could be transferred to the relatives who will inherit the assets.


This new tax structure was introduced in Nigeria in 1966. It is a process whereby a tax is imposed in a increased value of an asset. For instance if a person buy some tangible assets such as land or machinery or N100, 000.00 and later re-sells the assets for N145, 000.00 then a profit has been made which is N 145, 000.00 and it is this amount that is being taxed.

There is yet another prominent type of tax called the RITAN TAX. This is a basic income paid by the farmers in the village. They are not normally assessed. In the normal procedure of assessment but a complete normal roll of all the taxable adults are taken at the end of every year. This normal roll helps to ascertain the particular number of taxation men in each village or clan. The pay a minimum amount of twenty-five Naira (N 25) up to 1996. They are normally issued with a Ritan tax care. The tax agents who in-turn takes 5% of whatever is collected do the work of collection.  The nominal roll is subject constant reviews as to recalling know who is there and who is no more living they’re in the village.

Incomes subject to taxes are classified into earned and unearned income. Earned income is income from trade, business, employment profession or vocation. Generally income tax is payable by an individual for the year of assessment from gains or profits derived from the income earning sectors.

This is with the exception of capital receipts and profits (e.g.) from sales of motor vehicles. Hence all capital profits are excluded from the computation of profits for income tax purposes. Income tax is payable or unearned income, such as tent received in advance is apportioned over the period to which it concerns.

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