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|When Churches Can No Longer Be Separated From Commercial Businesses by Atk1nson(m): 11:28am On Dec 03, 2017|
It been a time-tested, unspoken rule that Churches are humanitarian and for social development. In deed a lot of our elders tell us that development in their ancestral town were brought about by missionaries that brought free education, health care, built schools and campaigned for the marginalized in their society.
You will forgive the Government for suggesting that Churches be taxed. They struggle to see the difference between many churches and commercial business, so do many of us.
I’ll cite specific instances to drive my point:
Based on the tax codes a general underlying point is that institutions are not taxable to the extent that they are of a public character, established for social development and not with intention to make profit or gain. That being said, it is difficult argue that:
1) A pastor selling holy candle sticks (worth probably ₦50) for ₦1,000 is not running a business, when merchants sell theirs for probably N60 and still pay taxes on their ₦10 gain. Seem rather unfair to these merchants.
2) Builds a school and charge rates comparable to private commercial rates (₦600,000 upwards compared to 1/6th of that charged by Government). Although schools are generally exempted from taxes in Nigeria)
3) Rents a hall at commercial rates similar to what property management companies are charging and doesn’t pay tax.
4) Run ministries who messages seem to be gear towards consulting services for the gain of secular knowledge and not one of a spiritual basis and still do not pay tax on “free-will contributions” obtained during these sessions.
Today many Churches utilize the funds in running commercial businesses with little or no humanitarian contribution. Before some people say “it’s a lie”, please note the examples below:
a) Lagos Ibadan Express Way
This road probably has one of the highest concentration of mega camps run by Churches & Mosques raking billions every month. In spite of this the road is in a bad state and arguably records daily fatal accidents. Not to mention the routine gridlock that occurs because there are not flyovers to direct the heavy flow of traffic to these camps every month.
Surprisingly, since the Government has done little about it, some other entities have not considered it necessary either, although they constantly renovate and expand their camps.
b) Apapa Express Way
This road is also in bad shape but two major companies (Dangote & FMN) have committed to repairing the road at an estimated ₦4.3 billion. These companies were created to ultimately make profit but yet they make significant contributions to developing their host communities.
c) Ajose Adeogun V.I
The popular Ajose Adeogun street was repaired and annually maintained by Zenith Bank. Akin Adesola Street is maintained by GTB. Their customers and non-customers a like enjoy the benefits of these roads.
Many other entities making less in revenue, make significant contributions to society and still pay tax at 32% of tax profits, so the question is why are Churches not paying tax?
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