Lagos govt to school owners: Your schools and your teachers must pay tax

• Says COVID-19 palliatives over

PRIVATE school owners and managers have been told that it is compulsory for them to pay company and personal income tax to the government.

The chairman of Lagos Inland Revenue Services (LIRS), Mr Ayodele Subair, made this known at the 2020 school managers’ conference organised by the Lagos State chapter of League of Muslim School Proprietors (LEAMSP) in Ikeja, last week.

The training programme, which holds annually and this year’s edition with a theme “Dealing with the new normal” has up to 250 participants from across the state in attendance.

Delivering a keynote address, the LIRS boss, said no matter how small the amount may be, every private school is expected to pay both company tax and personal income tax to federal and state governments respectively.

He said even if a school had only one teacher on its payroll and being paid as low as N30,000 salary monthly, such a school must have to remit certain percentage of that salary as tax to the state government while the school itself as an entity must have paid company tax on yearly basis to the Federal Government.

He noted that the percentage to be paid as tax on the salary of each teacher and every other school worker and also on company income depends on the size of the salary and the company profit respectively.

He said the percentage deduction on PAYE for example, which is for workers, is mostly from seven per cent to 24 per cent and one per cent from those earning N30, 000 salary or less.

Subair, represented at the event by Mrs Basirat Bashir, an assistant director in the agency, said the money is what the government at both levels is using to provide social amenities to the citizenry,

He, however, pointed out the only condition that the government could exempt any school from paying tax at a particular period  is when such schools apply for exemption under the claim of having zero profit and back it up with verifiable documents.

Making reference, he gave example of the general school lockdown last year due to COVID-19 pandemic, saying many schools, especially those which were unable to deploy e-learning for their students, let alone charge any fee, applied for exemption, enjoyed tax holiday and also benefited from government palliatives.

While noting that LIRS will never entertain any other condition or verbal complaints and that COVID-19 palliatives is over as of March 29, he said both tax avoidance and evasion are punishable offences.

Speaking earlier separately, both the national president and Lagos State chairman of LEAMSP, Messrs Abdul-Wahid Obalakun and Fatai Raheem, said impact of COVID-19 pandemic on private schools especially last year during lockdown was huge with many schools still finding it difficult to cope.

They, however, noted that the annual training for school managers and unified examinations for students by the association are yielding tremendous results.

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