ANNUAL TAX CONFERENCE 2017

The Annual Tax Conference has continued to be the largest gathering of Chartered Tax Practitioners and Tax Administrators locally and internationally. It has always created an avenue for participants to share professional ideas, not only on taxation issues but also on related national issues that are necessary for the attainment and sustenance of vibrant socio-economic development. This forum has also provided an avenue for decision makers in government and the organized private sector to make objective and feasible decisions when faced with the reality of making fundamental micro or macro-economic decisions.
The 19th Annual Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, held between the 17th and 20th May, 2017 at the Green Legacy Resort, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
The 2017 conference was themed “Taxation and Governance: The Social Contract Imperatives”.
Day 1
On the 17th day of May, the members of Tax club sponsored by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) converged for the trip to Abeokuta. The takeoff point was the FIRS Head office at Agidingbi. Upon arrival at Abeokuta, we were immediately situated in our hotel rooms to freshen up and participate in the hospitality night. However, we made an early departure to prepare our team for the quiz competition which was the next day.
Day 2
The second day was the official day of the conference. The day was earmarked for the technical session of the conference. The event was graced by various dignitaries and notable personalities of the tax world and most importantly, the Governor of Ogun State marking the first time a sitting Governor will be attending the Annual Tax Conference.
The technical session of the conference was opened with the first paper delivery bothering on the topic “Alignment of appropriate tax policy options with economic realities: The essence of business oriented and timely inventions” delivered by Prof. Ntiedo Umoren who is the first professor of decision sciences in Nigeria and the immediate past dean of the Faculty of Business Administration, Univeristy of Uyo.
The paper delivered by Prof Ntiedo examined how qualitative and effective tax policies can enhance a better socio-economic environment for the benefit of the Nigerian masses. The speaker made an observation on how tax policies are crafted without significant input from the Nigerian masses. This I beg to differ, National Tax Policy committee headed by Prof Abiola Sanni pushed some recommendations forward towards tackling the everyday problems the Nigerian Masses face regarding taxation which has been the bulk of the comment of the masses as regards the administration and remittance of taxation. Some of such recommendation include,
1. Lower Tax rate and VAT Compliance threshold for Small and Medium scale enterprise.
2. Ensuring that there is only one revenue agency for every level of government.
3. Ensuring that taxes are duly and effectively accounted for.
It is obviously clear that these recommendations are crafted based on the feedback of the citizens which may serve as the citizens input.
The second paper of the day on the issue “Psychology of the Tax Payer and Voluntary Tax Compliance” delivered by Dr Frank Jacobs.
The paper on Psychology of the taxpayer and voluntary tax compliance aimed at considering psychological determinants at ensuring tax compliance. The paper canvasses the use of certain psychological factors such as trust, increased social economic projects at ensuring tax compliance. It was identified that the social contract imperatives will begin to work if the government can win the trust of the citizens by ensuring that public goods such as health, education, security are provided. There is no doubt that this assertion is watertight in light of recent development that is being noticed in Lagos state. The increased social economic projects within the state has no doubt aroused the interest of the citizens within the state to perform their civil obligation of tax payment.
The third paper on “Taxation and Governance: The Social Contract Imperatives” was delivered by Dr. Muritala Awodun the pioneer executive chairman of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS).
The third paper taxation and governance: the social contract imperatives focuses on the basic roles of the government in the society. It also aimed at checking if the actions and activities of the government to tax payers can be said to establish a social contact relationship.
The fourth paper on “Taxation and infrastructural developments in Nigeria” was delivered by Mr. Ayodele Hamzat Subair, the Executive chairman, Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS).
The paper presented by the Executive Chairman of the LIRS focused on the importance of infrastructural provisions with the end result of increased tax revenue collectible as a result of high economic activity level. The message passed across by this beautiful presentation remains that the availability of infrastructure in Nigeria will encourage investment in Nigeria and by that the government will generate higher revenue by levying tax in the newly established industries and companies. This is only possible if the government create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive. This indeed remains an incontestable fact.
The last paper of the day was on “Budgets and open Governments: the quest for transparency and accountability” was delivered by Pastor Ben Akabueze. The paper sought to understand the processes and avenues through which citizens are able to participate in the budgetary process and access information on its level of implementation. The truth must be told that budgetary implementation process and contract allocation are not open for public knowledge despite the open contracting Data standard introduced by the president upon joining open government partnership (OGP) initiative. Efforts must therefore be made to ensure that stakeholders are involved in budgetary process either directly and indirectly. This is will go a long way in achieving open and transparent government.
In summary, the papers were presented during the various plenary sessions by various panels consisting of tax experts and professionals. Afterwards the program was brought to a close by the President of the CITN, Dr. Olateju Somorin and then we proceeded to the Tax Quiz competition.
The event ended with the annual quiz competition which was won by the University of Lagos participant and member of The Tax Club, Mr Gabriel Aliu.
Day 3
The day was allocated to sightseeing and other tourist attractions within the capital. However, the members of the University of Lagos team decided to celebrate one of our own, Mr Gabriel. Aliu who was marking his birthday on that day. When the night fell, we attended the gala night and award ceremony held at the Green Legacy Resort the Gala night was spectacular, and it featured the renowned Gbenga Adeyinka as the Master of Ceremony, and Chief Ebenezer Obey as the guest performer. The prize of the winner of the Tax Quiz competition was presented. This was particularly enjoyable because of the rigorous team work put into the preparations for the quiz competition by delegates from the Tax Club, UNILAG.
It was a thrilling and fabulous event filled with grace and glamour where various districts and personalities were rewarded for their extraordinary achievements. Finally, we retired to our rooms.
Day 4
We returned to Lagos.
]We would like to thank the sponsors of the University of Lagos Tax Club for the opportunity to experience such a ground breaking event. It was an unforgettable experience.

THE NATIONAL TAX DEBATE (SPECIAL EDITION)

The 137th Joint Tax Board Meeting was an awe-inspiring and educative forum. The Theme, ‘Collaboration amongst Tax Authorities; Its impact on revenue generation and service delivery to Taxpayers’ was all encompassing, challenging and thoroughly informative.
On the 12th of March, 2017, ten (10) institutions from all geopolitical zones on Nigeria converged at Ilorin, Kwara State -they heeded the call of the Joint Tax Board {hereinafter referred to as the JTB} and the Tax Club. The sole purpose of this convergence was apparent from the theme of the 137th meet – ‘Enhancing Taxpayers’ awareness through Student Tax Clubs.’
Accommodation was provided for by the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service {KW-IRS} at Somewatt Fresh Hotel at Fate Road, GRA, Ilorin Kwara State.
The Debate topics were prudently crafted to reflect the Nigerian Tax System’s most crucial and contemporary issues –
1. Presumptive tax; the panacea for taxing the Informal Sector.

2. National Tax Policy or Federal Tax Policy; which way?
The debate style was presidential.
The Judges for both the Preliminary and Final round were judiciously nominated from PwC Nigeria {Ms. Emuesiri Agbeyi} and Delloitte Nigeria {Mr. Tosin Adedoyin}.
HIGHLIGHTS: Welcome Address by Executive Chairman, Kwara State IRS, Dr. Muritala Olakiton Awodun.  A speech by Executive Chairman, JTB, Dr. Babatunde Fowler and the Keynote address by the Executive Governor, Kwara State, His Excellency Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed and the of the 137th Board Meeting was declared open.

Thereafter, there was a paper presentation by Professor Abiola Sanni titled ‘The Revised National Tax Policy as a catalyst for diversifying sources of revenue and another Presentation by Canadian Software Development Corporation {CSDC}.

 

THE DEBATE

PRELIMINARY ROUND {9:30AM – 11:30AM~ 13TH MARCH, 2017}

Topic: Presumptive tax; the panacea to taxing the Informal Sector.
Ten {10} institutions squared up against one and another for the top four {4} spots, seeing as the system was by point grade scored.
The top 4 spots were snatched by;
Obafemi Awolowo University
University of Benin
University of Ilorin; and
University of Lagos.

 

FINAL ROUND

Topic: National Tax Policy or Federal Tax Policy; which way?
After approximately twenty-nine {29} minutes of tax tussle; results were anounced.
Obafemi Awolowo University {Champion}
University of Lagos {1st runner up}
University of Ilorin {2nd runner up}; and
University of Benin {Fourth place}.
The Prizes
Prizes for Institution-

{1st Prize} #750,000

{2nd Prize} #500,000

{3rd prize} #350,000

Prizes for Individual Finalists-

{1st Prize} #250,000

{2nd Prize} #200,000

{3rd Prize} #150,000

Other Prizes

{1st Prize} 1 Notebook Laptop

{2nd Prize} 1 Notebook Laptop

{3rd Prize} 1 Notebook Laptop 1.4

Consolatory Prizes and others – {4th Place} #200,000 Extra #200,000 for all participating Institutions {KW-IRS}

Extra #100,000 for all participating Institutions {DG, FRSC}

Extra #250,000 for 1st place winner {Executive Chairman, FIRS}

Extra #500,000 for 2nd place winner {Executive Chairman, LIRS}

THE TAX EXPERIENCE 1.0

The average Tax Club member is met with a plethora of career options with little or no practical knowledge on the length and breadth of actual work experience in such a sector. The seemingly up-to-date ones still desire an avenue to weigh their options especially on what area of tax to focus on.
Thus, THE EXPERIENCE has been tagged the ALTER-EGO OF THE CUSTOMARY CAREER FAIR. The DIFFERENCE being the reversal of the habitual logistics i.e. instead of inviting resource persons to address an audience on a topical career, why not approach these professionals in THEIR NATURAL WORK SPACE thus creating an EXPERIENTIAL and more PRACTICAL CAREER EXPOSITION.

Thus, the tax experience held through the month of March 2017.  Participants were allotted  into groups to visit prestigious tax based organisations to get first hand experience.
The aim was to enable learning first hand from Top Tax professionals and to allow for a clearer perspective on a career choice such as tax will undoubtedly lead the participants onto making an informed profession decision.

The Tax Experience was a one-day affair, with the whole program scheduled to elapse within two (2) hours.
Companies such as the FIRS, Deloitte, and the LIRS were visited; participants had an insightful experience and also left with some souvenirs and light refreshments.

 

Pictures from the tax experience 1.0

THE TAX WALK 2017

 

The core drive of the Tax Club from the inception is the creation of tax awareness amongst Nigerian youths as well as others due to the disinterest in this area bearing in mind Taxation is a major mainstay to the Nigerian economy.

The Tax Walk emerged as a result of the need to build the Tax Culture amongst the average Nigerian, students and of great importance, ensuring that the informal sector get into the Tax net. Thus, the reason Bariga was earmarked in 2015 and Tejuosho, as just concluded in 2017.

The 2017 Tax Walk was organized in Conjunction with the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Lagos Inland Revenue Service. It began with a walk from the University of Lagos by 11;00am . The students and the officials from the FIRS moved through the university road down to Jibowu axis, speaking to people along the way and sharing useful materials which was provided by the FIRS.

There was an Invasion into Tejuosho Market which piqued the interest of every market person present. The students and the officials immediately spread out to discuss the importance of Taxation, what taxes are payable and how taxes can be paid to both receptive and unreceptive people.

Materials for the walk provided by the staff and coordinators of the FIRS were distributed to the willing members of the public who readily accepted them. Contained in these materials were taxes of different categories of Taxes for people, ( Value added Tax, Personal Income Tax, Withholding Tax amongst others.)the appropriate authorities these taxes should be paid to as well as how they can be paid( ie obtaining a Tax Identification Number ;TIN).

Souvenirs such as calendars were provided by the FIRS and were shared to the people of Tejuosho Market. This spurred their attention and excitement.

There were suggestions by some of the market people and store keepers that the government officials whom taxes are remitted should have mini outlets around the market to enable easy payment of Taxes.

The Tax walk was a Cardio, educational as well as an exciting yet effective way of Tax Sensitization and was truly enjoyed by all.
Students all got into the buses provided by the FIRS while refreshment was provided by the Tax Club, university of Lagos.

THE TAX SUMMER SCHOOL

 There is  never a time to late to learn Tax.

The Club defied natural order and  brought back summer in the last month of the year when it organized its very own Tax Summer School in December 2016 with a view to improve upon the foundational learning about taxation.

The school held from SUNDAY 11TH – 17TH OF DECEMBER 2016.

A total of five (5) universities were reached out too and in attendance were representatives from (4) universities within the country. The universities in attendance included the;
University of Ibadan
University of Lagos
University of Abuja &
Obafemi Awolowo University.

Day 1. Sunday 11th December 2016.
This was the day the delegates from their various institutions arrived at the faculty of law, University of Lagos. The representatives from the schools were very encouraged to network with each other. After the dinner, there was a brief meeting presided over by the president, Aladeloye Ayobami. This was to ensure that they were kept abreast of the activities for the next one week.


Day 2. Monday 12th December 2016.
This marked the second day into the program and in attendance to give the opening remark was the Dean of Student Affairs, Professor Ademola Adeleke, Professor Joseph Abugu, Head of Department, Commercial and Industrial law (CIL), Faculty of Law and Professor Abiola Sanni, Staff adviser, The Tax Club, University of Lagos. The President of the tax club, Mr Aladeloye Ayobami gave the welcome address charging all delegates to make an optimum use of the opportunities being offered by the Club. The Dean of Student Affairs, Professor Ademola Adeleke, and Professor Joseph Abugu, Head of Department, Commercial and Industrial law (CIL), Faculty of Law, were decorated with the emblem of the Tax Club for their support in making the summer school an actualization.
The first lecture for the day begun with Professor Abiola Sanni opening the floor, he gave a lecture on the topic “Acquisition of the Skill of Finding & Applying the Tax Laws”
A break was observed after the lecture for the preparation of the next lecture.
Shortly after the break, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, Head of Tax and Corporate Advisory Services, PwC arrived to take the second topic of the day on the theme “Nigerian Tax Policy –Past Present & Future”. His approach towards at handling the topic was no doubt a brilliant one that got a great number of the delegates captivated. His style of professing was indeed unique. At the end of his lecture, he rolled out several policy scenario in which the delegates were to use for their presentation towards the conclusion of the programme.
At the end of the lecture, every delegate was divided into various groups of alpha, beta, gamma and omega which was to form the basis of their discussion on the policy scenario rolled out.

 
Day 3. Tuesday 13th December 2016
After the breakfast was served to all delegates, Day 3 began with the topic bothering on the fundamentals & contentious issues in company’s income tax in Nigeria and also the fundamentals of & contentious issues petroleum profits tax in Nigeria and this was handled by Mr Olorunfemi from PwC.
After the lectures of the day, the various groups were instructed to go back to their group meetings to discuss the issues to be presented. The academic and research committee supervised the various groups during their breakout sessions. We also provided them with research sources and materials to aid their research.
Day 4. Wednesday 14th December 2016
The first lecture of the day was given by Dr Seun Avoseh from PwC on transfer pricing. The lecture was exhilarating being a field of taxation that is not fully explored in Nigeria and then facilitated by the first PHD holder on transfer pricing in Nigeria.
Furthermore, there was a Lecture by Mr Zion Athora from Ernest& Young.
Break out session for the delegates.
Day 5. Thursday 15th December 2016
The first lecture of the day was given by Bukola Sanni from PwC on Taxation of Individuals working offshore Nigeria’s territorial waters. Questions regard expatriates who work offshore and how their taxes are paid were resolved.
The second lecture of the day was given by Professor Ige Bolodeku on the topic of combating corruption through tax administration. He gave insights into how the Federal Inland revenue service can help the government fight corruption through taxation. This lecture was a whole new angle to the uses of taxation diverting from the conventional practice of taxation as a means of revenue generation or taxation as an instrument of social control.
Day 6. Friday 16th December 2016
There was a lecture, then the presentation given by the groups on the questions presented by Mr Taiwo Oyedele at his first lecture.
The presentation was between the four groups divided in Alpha, Beta, Gama, Omega, at the end of it all, beta group emerged winners with a total of 71 points with group Alpha coming second with 70 points.. The judges of the day were Mrs Ilobinso, a lecturer from the faculty of law and Mrs Ayodele Kadiri overall best graduating student of The Nigerian Law School 2016.
The delegates were awarded certificates of excellence and participation after which they proceeded for the cocktail party.
Day 7. Saturday 17th December 2016
There was a brief meeting amongst the organizers and the delegates from their respective schools as regards the summer school. The meeting also marked the ending of the Summer school before everyone departed.
It was a rewarding experience which placed the students above their peers.

 

Pictures from the Tax Summer School