There has always been an ongoing debate about the policy of taxation. Whether levied as import tax or the more contested personal income variation, taxes have emerged from being a simple financial issue to have a more varied political and social exterior.
From its first recorded implementation in Egypt around 300 B.C, to the discovery of a document containing new tax laws, decreed by the Ptolemaic Dynasty in 196 B.C; taxes have always been an integral part of society that has been implemented and contested in equal measures.
Fast forward to a pandemic ridden 21st century with myriads of taxes already instituted and in play; from company taxes to value added tax, income taxes to duty taxes, all under the legally-accepted economic cover of modern society.
In the throes of a global health crisis, in the once bustling city of Lagos State, now reduced to a shadow of its former self; a new tax law has been introduced that is guaranteed to shift the economic ache of the ongoing pandemic to a whole new level.
A few days ago, a governing body in Lagos State announced a new tax scenario that has gotten every creative riled up and ready to go to war. It’s a tax levied on content creators that will cause them to pay a five percent levy on every of their content created and sold. As expected, the kickback against the new levy received an assorted volley of condemnations; with some creative industry stakeholders describing it as untimely while other more vocal opinions have simply called it a break-in-and-take approach.
Opinions have been varied as regards the five percent content levy, with many understandably embroiled in emotion, but the opinions have been based on two distinct logic.
- DOUBLE TAXATION
Firstly, why would a new form of tax returns be levied against a niche market of creatives, who are already paying several tax returns like personal income tax to the state? This seriously affects the celebrated ease of doing businesses that the current regime is touting as a premium economic reform narrative that they are passionate about. You don’t really need a degree to know that double taxation is a threat to the existence of any business.
- UNTIMELY DELIVERY
The second logic deals with the untimely nature of the newly introduced tax law. How can one of the most affected industries, as regards the shutdown directive, be the one that is now taxed an unreasonable levy? Right in the midst of being shutdown and non-functional? Shouldn’t this be a time to instead create measures to help the non-working content creators find ways to hold their heads above water, while their industry is relegated to the back burner?
As stakeholders from both the government and content creator fronts trade words, there are many allegations as regards who is actually behind the new levy as PMAN recently denied any knowledge of the initiative.
This is the time for those who have an ear or two close to the decision making players to lend their voice strongly to this cause, because in more justice-thirsty climes, full-blown protests have been born of less.