I was at a training last week when this was said and I never took it seriously. However, it appears the Lagos state Governor has taken this seriously and has reiterated his stance on this law which unknowingly to many has been in existence for many years.    

A showdown is imminent between landlords and tenants in Lagos State as Governor Babatunde Fashola has asked tenants to deduct five percent as withholding tax from the rent payable to their landlords and remit same into government purse.

The governor said the goal of the government in the new year is to aggressively collect withholding tax on consumption of goods and services.

Fashola spoke at the 5th Lagos State Taxation Stakeholders’ Conference held at The Haven, Ikeja, Lagos, southwest Nigeria.

Addressing the audience, Governor Fashola said collection of withholding tax would be part of government revenue drive in the New Year. He promised to enforce the payment of the tax. He said withholding tax would be collected on rent, dividend, contract, among others, stressing that in the case of rent, the tenants would serve as the collecting agents of withholding tax from the landlords for the services rendered. How much would be my percentage? (smiling).

Fashola added that churches and mosques who owned buildings used for business purposes were not exempted from paying taxes to the government because they earn income from such businesses.

“On the churches and the mosque, let us remember that whether it was a church or a mosque, it was first a building. And therefore, it is built with the same building materials that were used to build other private facilities.

“Nobody knows the difference at that time. And therefore, it cannot escape the regulatory law of the state in making building safe, it must comply. It is only when those who are ordained dedicate the building to the propagation of religion that it becomes a church.

“In the same way, churches own facilities. Churches who run businesses should give something back to the government. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar and render unto God what is God,” he stated.

Fashola appealed to Lagosians to be more tax compliant. “If more people voluntarily pay the right amount of income taxes, the government will find enough money it needs to transform the state,’’ he stated.

He explained that the only way to make life as good as they are in the other jurisdictions such as Europe was for the people to provide the government with more resources to do so.

This man is not smiling with revenue generation oh.