Ethics Of Tax Evasion Perceptual Evidence From Nigeria (A Case Study Of Some Selected Local Government Area In Akwa Ibom State)

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Ethics Of Tax Evasion Perceptual Evidence From Nigeria (A Case Study Of Some Selected Local Government Area In Akwa Ibom State)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the perception of tax evasion to the payment of tax on ethical reasons. A case study of some selected Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State. Extensive review of the existing literature was made and relevant information was extracted. The Design of the study is descriptive field survey and observation method and the study was conducted at the selected Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State. The instrument for data collection is structured questionnaire and the source of data used was primary and secondary sources. The data collected were analyzed using Chi-square test (X2). Based on the analysis of this research, the researcher discovered the following as her data findings, that there is widespread ethical support for tax evasion, the study showed varying degree of justification for tax evasion, that tax evasion is ethical sometime and also found that the perceived government corruption can make respondent to evade tax. Therefore, until those underlying cause are addressed, tax evasion may continue to be widespread.

Table of Contents

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Approval page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of Contents
  • List of tables

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Historical background to the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problems
  • 1.3 Objective of the study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Definition of Terms

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Empirical investigation of tax evasion
  • 2.2 Overview of taxation system in Nigeria
  • 2.3 Taxation as a tool for fiscal policy
  • 2.4 Problem of effective tax administration in Akwa Ibom State
  • 2.5 Tax administration bodies in Nigeria
  • 2.6 Objective of taxation
  • 2.7 Tax effects
  • 2.8 Agents of tax administration
  • 2.9 Three opinions on the ethic of tax evasion
  • 2.10 Reasons for tax evasion
  • 2.11 Forms of tax evasion
  • 2.12 Comparison of tax evasion and tax avoidance
  • 2.13 Different between tax avoidance and tax evasion

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Sources of data
  • 3.3 Area of the study
  • 3.4 Population of the study
  • 3.5 Sampling size determination and sampling technique
  • 3.6 Reliability Test
  • 3.7 Validity Test
  • 3.8 Method of data analysis
  • 3.9 Decision criterion for validation of hypothesis

Chapter Four

4.0 Result

  • 4.1 Presentation of data
  • 4.2 Test of Hypothesis

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • References
  • Questionnaire

Chapter One


1.1 Historical Background of the Study

The word tax first appeared in the English language only in the 14th century, it is derived from the Latin word taxare, which means to “Assess” before that, English used the related word task derived from old French, for a while task and tax were both in common use, the first requiring labour, and the second money.

In the Stone Age, tax was collected in Nigeria long before the coming of Europeans; it was collected by the local Chief for the purpose of administration and defense. Every one was expected to give part of his or her proceeds from cultivation of land to the state, those who were not cultivating were required to give their human (labour) sources for public work such as clearing the bush, digging the pit latrine, wells etc. for the benefit of the community, as a whole. Failure to render such services usually resulted in loss of property which might be reclaimed after payment. With the coming of the Europeans, taxes were collected from individuals through local chief in 1964; a legislative council was set for the whole country which obliged the regional council with a large measure of financial responsibility. After independence, state government were to fine out other sources of generating revenue which is today known as pay as you earn (PAYE).

Tax is a levy imposed by the federal board of Inland Revenue (federal government) on the chargeable income generated by individuals, organizations and other corporate bodies for the betterment of the society as a whole.
Taxation is the act of taxing, it is also the amount assessed as a tax, it is revenue raised from taxes. Taxation is the means of progress through which the government generate revenue for national development through the contribution by the citizens.

According to Ogundele (1999) taxation is defined as a process or machinery by which communities or group of persons are made to contribute in some agreed amount of money for the propose of the administration and development of the society. It can be inferred that the payment of tax will in turn be beneficial to the entire community of they pay their tax properly.

Tax constituted an important source of revenue to the government of any country both direct and indirect taxes that are collected by the government inform of income tax, excise duty, import and export duties, purchase and sales tax and so on help the government to generate a lot of revenue for the smooth administration of a nation. There are two elements in every form of taxation and that is the base and rate element. The tax base is the object which is taxed or a measure of the private sector income or wealth that can be taxed. The tax rate is the percentage of the measured amount taken from the tax base. As earlier stated, taxation is one of the most important and major source of government revenue, in this case the money realized from is used to provide social goods and services so that both the rich and the poor will have equal chance of making use of them through the provision of social amenities such as good roads, electricity, pipe borne water, hospitals welfare organization, schools and so on.

In spite of these benefits from tax, most people still run away from tax indulging themselves in what is called tax evasion and avoidance. Attempt to avoid some portion of inability or not to pay tax will affect the revenue generation of the government and that is the most condition why government frowns at the issue of tax evasion and uses its authority to enforce compliance. But in spite of the frown by the government of Nigeria, there have not been adequate and sincere efforts towards enforcing the tax evaders on the need for them to pay their tax instead, they concentrated on the revenue from oil sector, while overlooking the taxes on agriculture which is supposed to yield revenue to the country as a whole.

Arowomole and Oluwalayode (2006:39) define tax evasion as a deliberate act on the part of the tax payer to reduce their tax liability through illegal means or an attempt not to pay tax due. While tax avoidance is defined as a legal way by which a taxpayer reduces his or her tax liabilities. Tax evasion is considered as a criminal offence.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The researcher has observed that tax evasion has become rampant in Akwa Ibom state, individuals and firm manover or try to evade paying tax based on their perceptions of tax.

The researcher has through this investigation observed that most people formulate their tax in order to underpay tax while some companies and individuals as well smuggle goods into the country in order to evade tax payment.
Most people see tax paying as government exploiting them while some try to bribe government officials in order that they may evade tax payment. It has been observed to that most people fail to register their company or goods in order to equally avoid tax payment. This is as a result of ignorance or an attempt to cheat the government.

Finally, it has been observed by the researcher that as tax payment is one of the ways government generate revenues, tax evasion would only trigger off lack of revenue for development and tax evasion is detrimental to the government. Hence, the decision of the researcher is to investigate the stated problem, the reason why individuals and firms indulge in tax evasion and to offer suggestion for solving the problem.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

  1. To investigate the perception of tax payers to the payment of tax on ethical reasons.
  2. To identify specific key areas that tax payer link to tax evasion.
  3. To examine the effect of perceived corruption in government on tax evasion.
  4. To state the seriousness of tax evasion according to the Nigerian constitution.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. Is tax evasion ethically justifiable?
  2. What are the reasons for tax evasion?
  3. What is the attitude of tax payer when government is perceived to be corrupt?
  4. What is the most rampant ethical justification for tax evasion?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

Because of the above research questions, the following hypothesis was formulated;

  1. Tax evasion is not ethically justifiable
    Tax evasion is ethically justifiable
  2. There is no reason for tax evasion
    There are reasons for tax evasion
  3. There is no rampant ethical justification for tax evasion
    There is rampant ethical justification for tax evasion

1.6 Significance of the Study

This research work would be referred to various tax authorities, the federal board of Inland Revenue, local government revenue committee as well as their tax officials who are responsible of collecting tax on individuals or corporate bodies, it gives them insight on how to improve the tax administration. The research would also help the professional bodies like the chartered institute of taxation of Nigeria and the institute of chattered accountant of Nigeria as well as the members to see the areas of deficiency on tax collection and call for improvement
in tax revenue. This research would also be relevant to the future researchers and students of economics, business administration, accounting and other social and management sciences as well as the legislations which will also benefit immensely from this research because it will form basis of tax policy formation, implementation and administration.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This research is premised on obtaining evidence on the ethics of tax evasion, by obtaining responses from business owners, professional bodies, tax officials, the federal board of inland revenue, organizations and others in Akwa Ibom state, thus the study was restricted to some selected local governments in Akwa Ibom state.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Tax Evasion:

An illegal practice where a person, organization or corporation intentionally avoid paying his or her true tax liability.

Tax Ethics:

It is the rule and regulations governing or guiding the payment of tax.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations


5.1 Summary

In the course of this research, a number of finding have been made based on factual data collected and analyzed on the ethics of tax evasion, perceptual evidence from Nigeria. However, based on the data collected using the different method of data collection, the finding analyzed in chapter four could be summarized as follows.

To confirm the questions that were used, the researcher found that 340 out of 400 respondent agreed that they do maintain tax department in their local government while 60 persons do not agree. This means that proper tax department is being kept in their local government.

To confirm the question two, the researcher found out how far the management uses tax fund for decision making in their local government. The researcher noticed that out of 400 respondents, 300 agreed while 100 disagreed. This means that management is making progress out of the fund paid by tax payers.

With this, and the questionnaire, it can be summarized that there is widespread ethical support for tax evasion, also showed varying degrees of justification for tax evasion. The respondents also believe that tax evasion is ethical sometime.

Furthermore, the study also found that the perceived government corruption can make respondent to evade tax. Therefore until those underlying causes are addressed, tax evasion may continue to be widespread.

5.2 Conclusion

The ethics of tax evasion, perpetual evidence from Nigeria, in line with the examination of economic situation tax system, the tax payer and the economic situation at large, the study concludes that tax evasion has a lot of negative impact to the economy. The study revealed that the behaviour of people towards tax evasion is not really their desire to warrant them to indulge in such acts and this may range from high cost of living, lack of employment and corruption on the part of tax officers or government. Therefore, the effects of tax evasion are not accord by the people but by the deteriorating economy.

5.3 Recommendations

Based on the findings of this research and as a result of the observation, the following measures are recommended with the hope that if implemented, the problem of tax evasion in Akwa Ibom state and Nigeria as a whole will be eradicated.

  1. The government of Akwa Ibom state should strive at ensuring that they are accountable and transparent in the administration of the society.
  2. The government of Akwa Ibom state should also pay particular attention to the tax system by ensuring that it is fair to all citizens. A good way to start this is by giving adequate consideration to the national tax policy pending before the national assembly.
  3. Effort should be made at sensitizing the populace on the seriousness of tax evasion and the penalties attached.
  4. There should be elimination of all forms of corruption practices and ensure that tax officials do not collude with tax payers to engage in any act which leads to unduly reduce, withhold or delay the payment as tax.
  5. The government of Akwa Ibom state and Nigeria as a whole should make sure that the money or tax paid by the tax payer is use effectively in the provision and development of their society.

This study may be replicated in a number of ways; other states within Nigeria may be captured. The opinion of theology students and business student in Nigeria may be an interesting area to explore in order to see the influence of education and religion on tax evasion. The opinion of law student may also be sought since they are likely to be stringent rule observer owing to their training.

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