Jimoh, Esq: Coronavirus, An Essential Ground For Extension Of Tax Payment For 2019 And Tax Exemption Of Nigerian Citizens For 2020
–Hameed Ajibola Jimoh Esq.
Payment of tax is an obligation or duty of every Nigerian citizen and forms part of civic responsibilities of Nigerians. Nevertheless, the Covid-19 has grounded the economy globally by the infectious disease and having more cases being diagnosed in some States of Nigeria, including the FCT-Abuja. Italy has been rated as the most affected country of the world even worst than China where the said pandemic disease had arose from.
This paper is a candid advice to the Nigerian Government of both the Federal Government and the State Government as well as the Federal Capital Territory- Abuja, to extend the period of payment of the 2019 tax and to exempt tax for the year 2020 as the year 2020 is and shall be recorded as the year of Corvid-19 and a global economic melt-down.
According to the World Health Organisation-herein after referred to as WHO-, as contained on its website https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus , Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.’
On the report watched on the Channels tv station as at the 22nd day of March, 2020, the detected cases of Covid-19 has been at the number of 27 across Nigeria. The Federal Government, State Government and the FCT-Administration have called for a short down of all schools, international flights, quarantine for at least 14 days and reduction in populated areas as well as reduction in numbers of worshippers in religious places across the Federation and many more measures at curbing this menace called Covid-19 are on the way until the lasting solution is discovered.
Nevertheless all these preventive measures, the far effect of this virus (which has no cure yet) on the economy cannot be over-emphasised! Market products and commodities have gone high. Many Nigerians could not freely socialize and a lot of far reaching measures have to be put in place. Also, while the 31st of March of every year and for this year, 2020, marks the end of the payment of the year 2019 tax and the calculation of the year 2020’s tax had commenced since the 1st of January, 2020, which is then payable on or before the end of the 31st day of March, 2021, personal income tax, citizens are likely to find it very difficult to pay their tax not out of desire but having regards to the current condition and effect of the Covid-19 on the individuals and the economy.
Considering and having regards to the present challenges created by this Corvid-19, it is my humble reasoning and advice therefore to the government at all levels to kindly extend the deadline for the payment of the year 2019 tax and to exempt Nigerians of the payment of the 2020 tax come the year 2021 as a way of cushioning and or reducing the effect of the Covid-19 on them and the unease it has brought to their life and their economy. At best, government might consider pardoning late payment for the year 2019’s and the year 2020’s taxes as doing this will be in the interest of justice, else, the condition of slow economy, no work, stay at home, non-payment of fees for services among others are likely to render almost a hundreds if not millions of Nigerians violators of tax laws for their failure to remit taxes.
Finally, it is my humbly plea to the government to consider the recommendations made by this paper and to make appropriate directives towards yielding to these kind pieces of advice in the interest of justice.
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