The Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Hon. Jonas Eteng Williams has said that for any low-income earner to be exempted from tax, the Executive branch of government has to forward the list of those to be exempted to the Assembly and then pay for them as the law does not cover tax exemption.
The Speaker stated this at the Enlightenment Town Hall Meeting organized by the Cross River State Internal Revenue Service as part of its sensitization and enlightenment of tax payers for Voluntary Tax Compliance.
“What the law actually says is that at the beginning of a tax year which is before the appropriation is passed, we have to write to His Excellency to give us (the Assembly) the list of those to be exempted.
“Tax is compulsory, which means the government must pay for those people. If the government does not pay, then they have not been exempted. You cannot exempt yourself from tax because it is against the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
“If the Cross River state government is willing to pay for them, then they will be exempted particularly the low-income earners. When government categorizes those who are low-income earners and then gives us the list of these people, then they will be exempted and we will collect the money from government.
“Everybody must pay their taxes because it is against the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria for anyone not to pay his tax, so if you are being exempted, you have to tell the government to pay for you because when someone asks you to present your tax and you don’t, then it’s against the constitution. Any law that is in conflict with the constitution is null and void”, Hon. Williams said.