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The issue of tax can be understood to mean a compulsory and mandatory contribution by way of payment of money made by the citizens of a country to their government for the purpose of financing public activities. Its major objectives are to raise money to finance government or public expenditures on utilities so as to achieve efficient and economic development and to distribute the nation‟s wealth in a manner as equitably as possible. All governments in the world rely on revenue from taxation to finance public utilities and other essential services .Taxation therefore is a civic responsibility on the part of the citizens. Until this idea is inculcated on the tax payers, the question of voluntary compliance to tax payment becomes a mirage. Consequently, this can lead to tax evasion and tax avoidance which eventually warrants the imposition of civil and criminal sanctions against the tax defaulters. The problem of this study hinges upon the idea that tax payers in developing countries particularly in Nigeria detest tax payment. The origin of this negative attitude is from the colonial era when the government were considered alien. The citizens were compelled to pay tax and the revenue so raised was seen as it is used for unknown reasons. The majority of the citizens who were illiterates do not consider it important to pay tax. However, this is not to say that taxes were alien to Nigeria. Before the colonial rule taxes were imposed in some parts of Nigeria. The refusal to pay tax by the Nigerian citizens continued even after independence both in the public and private sectors of the economy. It is in this vain that this study examines ineffectiveness or otherwise of the various tax legislative provisions against tax offences. The penalties were made to guard against any prospective tax evaders or avoiders. However, in spite of the fact that several taxing provisions provided sanctions for any breach of tax, it seems the penalties are not formidably effective to control tax evasion and tax avoidance. Hence this study is to review the state of penal provisions relating to tax offences and penalties by examining the doctrinal method of research into the tax statutes, case laws, text books, legal seminars and articles as well as internet sources to achieve is goal. Thus, it was observed that, there is the need to examine the criminal and civil sanctions under the Nigerian income tax legislation with a view to ascertain their effectiveness. Hence, it is recommended that a comprehensible tax law reforms, good taxpayers awareness of their duty to pay their taxes coupled with effective penal sanctions against tax defaulters that can guarantee tax compliance strategy for revenue development in Nigeria.
1.1 Background to the study
Income tax is wholly the creature of statute. That is to say, there is no common law of
taxation. No principles of law are applicable other than those principles, which are found in the
taxing Acts themselves according to their true meaning and effect. In any tax case, it is
consequently necessary for the court or tax commissioners to determine the true meaning and
effect of the particular statutory provisions in question. The actual problem in connection with
tax administration is that of enforcing tax payment. It is against this background that the Personal
Income Tax Act of 1993 (as amended)1 as well as Companies Income Tax Act of 1990 (as
amended) made penal provisions against any violations of their provisions. These are categ
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