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IMPACT OF TAXATION ON SMALL SCALE BUSINESS IN A DEVELOPING ECONOMY

IMPACT OF TAXATION ON SMALL SCALE BUSINESS IN A DEVELOPING ECONOMY

 

ABSTRACT

Small and Medium Enterprises play a very important role in development of the Nigerian Economy. Making up about 97% of the entire economy, they serve as a source of employment generation, innovation, competition, economic dynamism which ultimately lead to poverty alleviation and national growth. Tax policy is one of the factors that constitute the Small businesses’ economic environment. This research work tries to establish if any relationship exists between the growth of Small businesses and the tax policy environment in which they operate in Nigeria. Questionnaires were distributed to Small businesses in Calabar, Nigeria and non probability judgmental sampling method was employed. It was found out that from most Small businesses surveyed; they were faced with the problem of high tax rates, multiple taxation, complex tax regulations and lack of proper enlightenment or education about tax related issues. Although there was a general perception that tax is an important source of fund for development of the economy and provision of social services, the study revealed a significant negative relationship between taxes and the business’ ability to sustain itself and to expand. In order to obtain a vibrant and flourishing SME sector, the tax policy needs to be appropriate such that it will neither be an encumbrance to the Small businesses nor discourage voluntary compliance. A suggested solution is by increasing tax incentives through reducing tax rates and increasing tax authorities’ support services towards small and medium enterprises.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The desire to build a civilized country with a strong and sound economy is the desire of every Country, including Nigeria. Tax payment is the demonstration of such a desire, although some income earners see it as a means of exploitation by the government. Tax payment is a voluntarily contribution imposed by the Government on personal income earners, companies, investors, exporters, importers etc. revenue realized from taxation is a major source of revenue to the Government of Nigeria, and as such is an important tool used in the development of Nigeria and her economy. A country’s tax policies and systems are greatly related with business ventures in that country. An economy that enacts favorable and progressive tax laws and policies will definitely breed successful and finance-healthy business organizations. Once businesses flourish, the economy flourishes as well, as there is no quicker way of stirring the affairs of an economy without the help of organizations that move services, goods, money and investments from those with surplus to those with deficit; those with marketable ideas/output to those who need these ideas and products. In essence, businesses and tax policies greatly depend on one another for survival. If one is greatly affected, the other follows suite.

The Nigerian Tax System has undergone significant changes in recent times. With the help of various studies and research done by tax experts, tax laws are being reviewed with the aim of repelling obsolete provisions and simplifying the main ones. Under current Nigerian law, taxation is enforced by the 3 tiers of Government, i.e. Federal, State, and Local Government with each having its sphere clearly spelt out in the Taxes and Levies (approved list for Collection)

Small businesses are generally recognized as important drivers of economic success. They are a key ingredient in the “ecology of firms” in a healthy economy, as job creators, sales generators and a source of tax/fiscal revenue. In Nigeria the importance of small business as a creator of jobs, particularly for those with a low skills level, is widely recognized. Small, medium and micro-enterprises (“SMMEs”) contribute 36.1% of the country’s gross domestic product (“GDP”) and employ 68.2% of the workforce in the private sector. In the agriculture, construction and retail sectors, SMMEs employ more than 80% of the total workforce. Over the last few years, the growth in employment by SMMEs has exceeded the growth in their contribution to GDP, highlighting the