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EFFECTS OF MULTIPLE INTERPRETATIONS OF COMMENCEMENT PROVISIONS IN THE NIGERIAN INCOME TAX LAWS ON ASSESSABLE PROFITS OF TAXPAYERS

Ihendinihu John Uzoma, Alpheaus Ogechi Eberechi and Onyekach Silvia Nwakaego
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Ihendinihu John Uzoma: Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Postal: Department of Accounting, College of Management Sciences, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria.
Alpheaus Ogechi Eberechi: Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Postal: Department of Accounting, College of Management Sciences, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria.
Onyekach Silvia Nwakaego: Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Postal: Department of Accounting, College of Management Sciences, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria.

International Journal of Accounting and Finance (IJAF), 2018, vol. 07, issue 2, 88-104

Abstract: Nigerian Taxlegislations are typically complex and are sometimes presumed to be ambiguous; and attempts to interpret the provisions or even apply them in practice have often met with divergent outcomes. A typical case relates to the provisions in Nigerian Income TaxLaws forcomputing assessable profits in the third tax year ofa newbusiness which have been subjected to multiple interpretations among tax experts culminating in different amounts of assessable profits in practice. This paper discusses the various interpretations to the provisions relating to the third tax year. Simulated adjusted profits of twelve new businesses were generated for the first four years of existence and the assessable profits for the third year of assessment computed using three interpretational approaches under different scenarios of dates of commencement and accounting year-ends. PairedSample t-testandAnalysis ofVariance are usedto testfordifferences in mean assessable profits. With Fratio of 10.924 being significant at 1% level, the study indicates that assessable profits for the third tax year significantly differed among the approaches. The paper concludes that multiple interpretation to the commencement provisions forcalculating assessable profits in the third tax yearleads to significant disparity in computed assessable profits and promotes inequity in the distribution of tax burden among taxpayers. The study propounds the Clear Letters Theory and recommends for uniform adoption, the preceding fiscal year of governmentin computing assessable profits in the thirdtaxyears ofnewbusinesses in Nigeria.

Keywords: Income tax laws; Basis period; Commencement provisions; Assessable profits; Tax burden; Collectible tax revenue; Clear letter theory. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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