THE EFFECTS OF MULTIPLE TAXATION ON SMALL-SCALE ENTERPRISES I N EBONYI STATE

THE EFFECTS OF MULTIPLE TAXATION ON SMALL-SCALE ENTERPRISES I N EBONYI STATE

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CHAPTER ONE

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

. .           -

1.0      INTRODUCTION

Taxation can simply be seen as a compulsory transfer or payment of money from private individuals, institutions or groups to the government. It may be levied upon wealth or income in the form of sur-charge on prices. Taxes therefore are a proportion of the produce of land and labour of a country placed at the disposal of the government,. .

Multiple taxation on the other hand, is the imposition of different types of taxes that could have come under one major tax form on the people by the government.' A t times some of the taxes are christened levies. However, within the context of this work, all compulsory payment made by individuals and institutions to... the - government are regarded as tax.

Taxes generally provide basis for government revenue, which help them in carrying out their functions. This is why Ojo (1996) defined tax as a means by which government appropriate part of private sector's income and expenditure as its revenue for the purpose of meeting recurrent expenditure and creating public capital formation towards the development and growth of goods and services-ofthe economy.

A good tax possesses the following qualities: fairness, convenience, simplicity, and minimum cost of collection and minimum distortions. Musgrave (1980) noted that taxes should be chosen so as to minimize interference with economic decisions in otherwise efficient markets. Imposition of excess burden _ should be minimized. Again, a good tax system- should permit efficient and non-arbitrary administratiori and it should be understandable to the taxpayer.


Taxes therefore are known to play important role in the process of development of an economy. This is the role of providing finance for government expenditure. There are three main objectives of taxation. These include, raising of revenue for the government, regulating the economy and economic activities, and controlling of income and employment.

A tax, although may be imposed for the above purposesfit has effects on the behaviour of the payer and some variables within his income and consumption function.

Small-scale enterprises have so many definitions due to different criteria employed by different people and institutions in defining it. There is no single, uniformly accepted definition of a small firm (Storey, 1-994)

Firms differ in their levels of capitalization, sales and employment. Hence, definitions which employ measures of size (number of employees, turnover, profitability, net worth, etc) when applied to one sector could lead to all firms being classified as small, while the same size definition when applied to a different sector could lead to a different result.

However, the followings are some definitions of small scale enterprises: The World Bank Document (Report No 7114) of 1988 on Nigeria defined small and medium enterprises as one whose total fixed assets (excluding land) plus cost of investment do not exceed ten million naira in constant 1985 price. Mead (1984) defined small-scale enterprises as firms with less than.. -50 employees and at least half the output is sold.

Bolton committee (1971) formulated an economic definition of small-scale enterprise as a firm that meets the following three criteria:


i .         It has a relatively small share of their market place;

ii.           It is managed by owners in a personalized way, and not through the medium of a formalized management structure;

iii.          It is independent, in the sense of not forming part of a large enterprise.

I n the Nigerian context, the multiplicity of definitions for small-scale enterprises is the rules rather than exception. Nwankwo (1992) noted that as a result of differences .in policy focus, different government agencies in Nigeria apply various definitions to small and medium scale enterprises.

The Centre for Industrial Research and Development (1990) defined small-scale enterprise as one whose total assets in capital equipment, plant and working capital are less than two hundred and fifty thousand naira and employing fewer than fifty full-time workers. Central Bank of'',~igeria(2002) defined SME as a firm with capital outlay of n o t more than N200m. National Council of Industries (2003) defined small enterprise as a project with capital investment of over Nl . 5 million but not more than N50 million and/or work force of between 11 to 100 workers.

A     definition of. small-scale enterprises, which has enjoyed wider acceptance, is the one given by the United States Committee for Economic Development. It defined small-scale enterprise as any enterprise that is characterized by, at least, two of the following features:

i.             Management is dependent - usually managers are also the owners;

ii.           Capital is supplied and ownership is held by an individual or small group;

iii.         Area is localized; while workers and the owners are of one home or community, market need not be local; and

iv.         The size of the firm is small relative to the industry.


I n fact, the concept, small scale enterprise more often called small and medium-size enterprise (SME) is relative and dynamic, hence there is no universal definition for small scale enterprises. Researchers, because of this problem of definition adopt definitions for small-scale enterprises, which are more appropriate to their particular target group.


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