EFFECTIVE REAL ESTATE TAXATION CAN BOOST REVENUE BASE OF NIGERIA- Dr. Uche Egwuatu

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Chidiebere Nwankwo:

It is un-doubtable that great nations have developed through taxation and generally, urban management becomes increasingly important due to the growth of the urban centers in every nation.

Therefore, in what way can urban management be attained effectively if payment of property tax is overlooked? The common perception that there are no real property taxes in Nigeria is not perfect. In Nigeria, it is pathetic that everyone embraces the idea that crude oil and agricultural sectors are the only means to help in the development of our country, without giving much thought that effective tax policy will be much able to remedy the dilemma militating against the development of our country- Nigeria.

It is also quite unfortunate that majority of Abuja residents have the notion that payment of property tax as avenue to milk the masses dry and there are high charges and penalties involved in paying property tax which would discourage investment in new housing and maintenance of existing ones. With that said, it is pertinent to know that Nigerian tax policy is too weak, because America and Britain operate almost exclusively on tax system, therefore, it is necessary that the issue of full implementation of property tax in Nigeria, especially in Abuja should be given a definite approach.

Having understood all this, Dr. Uche Egwuatu, a Chartered Surveyor and Valuer at Chika Egwuatu & Partners, also a Fellow of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, in her paper presentation titled: “Effective Real Estate Taxation as a Source of Revenue for Provision of Public Services in Nigeria” which fetched her classy award during this year’s 46th Annual Conference of Nigerian Estate Surveyors and Valuers, held in Abuja, gave more explicit analysis on the issue concerning property tax in Nigeria.

She, explained tax, as a compulsory levy imposed on citizens by government for general governmental purposes, adding that the starting point for any property taxation is a legislation which gives a legal backing for tax imposition and administration. Hence, taxation is a statutory process and any taxation must be backed by authority from legislative provisions.

Dr. Uche, reiterated that an effective tax system satisfies the dual purpose of supporting government fiscal policies through which government encourages production and economic activities, as well as a means of generating revenue to perform its major roles of maintenance of law and order and provision of public social amenities for the citizens.

According to her, “a tax is a compulsory level and must be exacted in line with the provisions of the enabling law and as such tax legislation backing any taxation is an important consideration.

“Property based taxation is a compulsory levy put by the designated government authority on landed property or built estate, the subject of taxation is the multi-value of the property and landed property is a stable source of revenue”.

She, opined that involvement of professional qualified valuers in the assessment process is imperative for an effective property based taxation, and as well, property based taxation comes with a lot of imperatives, and the process if properly implemented has the transparency process whereby both the tax payer and the tax authority can understand why they need to pay what they need to pay and the revenue that comes from the process can also be shared by both payer and the tax authority.

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