A Critical Appraisal Of The Components Of Taxation In Nigeria And Proposals For Law Reforms


Tax has been variously defined over the years. These definitions, when looked at as a whole gives a more comprehensive picture of the phenomenon as opposed to a single definition. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word ?tax' refers to a compulsory contribution to the support of government levied on persons, property, income, commodities, transactions, etc, now at a fixed rate mostly proportionate to the amount on which the contribution is levied. While this serves in crude terms to tell us what a tax is, it is however deficient in the sense that it does not reveal the purpose of taxation. We however find more scholarly definitions in decided cases. For instance, in MATTHEWS v. CHICORY MARKETING BOARD it was held that a tax is:

"A compulsory exertion of money by a public authority for public purposes, or taxation is raising money for the purpose of government by means of contribution of individual persons."

In US v. BUTLER it was opined per Justice Roberts that:

"A tax in the general understanding of the term and as used in the Constitution signifies an exertion for the support of government. The word has never been thought to connote the expropriation of money from one group for the benefit of another."

Again in R v. BARGER the court held as follows:

"The primary meaning of taxation is raising money for the purposes of government by means of contributions from individual persons."

From these definitions, it is clear that a tax basically is a fund pooled from the members of a society for the public or governmental use.

Tax administration refers to the care and management of the phenomenon of taxation. It is the enforcement of the provisions of the relevant tax statutes in ...
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