Public Perception of the Tax Policy and Practice Under Democratic Governance of Reverse Development
Odia, J. O.
The paper examined the public perception of the tax practices under democratic governance in Edo State between 2007 and 2015. Although, taxation and democracy mutually reinforce each other, because taxation creates room for the accountability by governments, while democracy makes people voluntarily pay their taxes. However, it has been found from the literature that because most governments in developing countries rank relatively low in the scale of good governance in term of accountability, responsiveness to citizens’ needs and establishing institutional capabilities, they tend to engage in coercive state building and transfer such powers to tax authorities which use coercive methods and strategies to collect tax revenues. Therefore, this paper considered the public perception of the tax policies and practices of Edo State during the democratic period of 2007 to 2015 with regard to the tax policies, coercive tax authorities, and amendments to the personal income tax Acts of 2011. The sampling population was made up of 284 respondents from the formal (public and private sectors) and the informal sectors. The survey method was employed to collect data from the respondents. The data analysis and testing the hypotheses were based on the chi-square, t-tests and the analysis of variance. The findings revealed that the public had positive perception of the tax policy and the amendments to PITA of 2011, while they had a non-negative negative perception of the coercive tax authorities in collecting tax. Besides, the demographic factors were found to have a significant influence on the public perception, but the interaction of gender with age, education, ethnicity, sector and religion had no significant influence on the coercive tax authorities. The paper concluded that democratic governments should be more accountable and responsive to the citizens’ needs to improve voluntary tax compliance and reduce coerciveness by the State and tax authorities.