Tax compliance is a labour-intensive and time-consuming process, often involving a lot of paper work and professionals, thereby driving up costs. The tax payer would ordinarily collate, prepare, and submit their returns, also calculating and deducting their allowable where applicable, while the tax authorities verify, cleanse, and validate the returns before the process is completed. This process drives up costs and needlessly consumes the time of the taxpayers and the authorities. There’s also the unending battle between taxpayers and authorities in interpreting and applying tax laws, leading to indecision and risks of audits and even litigation.
The first thing Nigeria must do is to increase the transparency of the taxation process in the informal sector by ensuring that only authorised government personnel or agents are empowered to collect taxes. This not only solves the problem of multiple taxation and the activities of non-state actors in the collection process, it also, most importantly, ensures that all funds obtained are remitted into government coffers. With this mechanism, the government can easily ensure accountability in remittances, set targets for its officials and ultimately nib any form of corruption in the bud.
Although Nigeria has no law specifically mentioning the preservation of electronic data in litigation, the general obligation to do so can be found in the provisions of the Rules of Various Courts, the Evidence Act, 2011 and the Rules of Professional Conduct, 2007. It is important to consider each of these in relation to the specific matter of preservation of electronic information.