School Owners Lament Over Excess Taxes in Oyo.

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Private school owners in Oyo State under the aegis of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) has cried out over the taxes being charged by the Oyo State Government on private schools in the state. The Oyo State President of NAPPS, Mr. Kayode Adeyemi, revealed this to journalists in Ibadan .

Mr. Adeyemi, who said the school owners are tired of the charges, emphasised that even when private schools are on a lock-down the state government was still giving a demand notice to the proprietors.

He said: “We pay tax. The school itself pays renewal tax to the state government to the tune of about N130,000 for the College, N40,000 for primary and nursery alike. Apart from that, the proprietors of the school pay personal income tax to the government. The teachers of the school pay Pay-As-You-Earn tax to the government and other sundry levies such as signage, mobile advert ,rates and so many other things that we pay to the government annually.

“As it is now, with many of our operations shut down for about six months, we are already looking at it that we cannot pay anything this year because half of the year is already wasted with COVID-19 lock-down. The unfortunate thing is that the government of Oyo State is still serving us demand notices even when we are under lock-down and increasing the rate of taxes that we were to be paying and bringing taxes that we had not been paying before into the demand notice. This I had said we need to resolve.

The rates also include environmental taxes, N20,000 per annum. It is beyond the fact that we are already paying for business premises. Even education is not a business venture. The Company Income Tax law doesn’t allow education to be taxed, but we are being asked to be paying for re-approval, renewal and all that which is about N130,000 per annum. Surreptitiously the private schools are already paying tax on education which the company income tax doesn’t say education should be paying tax. That is the first thing. The second thing is that the issue we are being charged to be paying business premises. We had been paying certain amount before but in the new harmonised demand notice now they have increased it upwardly. Even though we are kicking against categorising education as business which is supposed to be the primary function of government. Because private stakeholders are helping government to meet her responsibility in training the children. But what we are saying now is that if you’re paying for premises which is business premises without raising an eyebrow as much as we are trying to be very cooperative to the government why should we pay for environment again? For God’s sake, what is the difference between premises and environment?

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“We have had meetings with the Honourable Commissioner for Finance prior to the bringing of all these things.

“They are even charging us another N20,000 or N30,000 annually for fire service, apart from the environmental charge. The issue now is that, if I’m paying tax as proprietors of the school, my school is paying tax as an educational outfit, my staff are paying tax, all those taxes where are they going? Am I the one that will be paying for fire service again?

“We are yet to be put on notice for penalties for non-payment, but what we are aware of is that we have met on that fire issue and everybody in the meeting held by all stakeholders that was convened and presided over by the previous honourable commissioner for education kicked against the incursion of fire charge into what schools should be paying to the government again. We should get our people trained on how to fight fire incidences in case it occurs. In the entire state now, there is no record of fire outbreak in any of our schools. But all I’m saying is that government just wants us to pay for any service. Despite the fact that you are paying your taxes, you are still paying for those services that the taxes need to be used for. That is what we are against. We are crying that those rates should be reviewed downwards. Nobody has listened to us now.

The taxes are for all private schools irrespective of the size. And the challenge now is what We have advised the Commissioner and Finance and Chairman of Board of Internal Revenue as an association to widen the tax net and bring in some other schools that are not approved at all. But as it were, they are not doing that. They are just descending on few of us who have got our schools approved to meet what they think must come in as revenue for the state government and leaving thousands of other schools which did not get approval and do not get anything to do with government to be operating and practising free of charge. What we see is that they just serve big schools in one street or the other that demand notices that they want to collect taxes. Image asking a school that have been locked down for almost half a year to bring a demand notice of almost one million Naira. Where does that school get the money? At a point we said we wanted to operate third time and do online, somebody was saying on the news that we don’t have the right to collect money from the parents to pay our staff salaries. These are staff that are paying salaries to government. Those who are working with the government, government is paying the tax. We heard that when they resumed, government still gave palliative to all those teachers that are collecting money even during the COVID-19 lock-down. Yet, private school teachers that did not get any salaries whatsoever they did not deem it fit to give them any palliative. If government wants education to do well in Oyo State, something has to be done. So that schools that are dying grasping for breath have to be salvaged”

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Source: Inside OYO

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