The Oyo State Government on Sunday declared that it has exempted some Mosques and Churches that are not making profit from payment of taxes and levies.
Executive Assistant to the state Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde, Rev. Idowu Ogedengbe, disclosed this at the thanksgiving mass to celebrate the 70th year birthday of the Catholic Archbishop of Ibadan Diocese, Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin in Ibadan.
Ogedengbe, who spoke on behalf of Makinde, however, stated that any places of worship that do businesses such as establishing of schools, universities, hospitals, bakeries, and so on must pay tax to the government since it was a profit-making venture.
He added that the Mosques and Churches that were exempted were exempted because they are not making profit.
While delivering Makinde’s message at the service, Ogedengbe said the government seeks the support of the church in ensuring that everybody pays tax.
He, however, noted that as members of the church, they should ensure they pay their taxes regularly, stressing that members of the body of Christ should pay their tax and not the church itself.
“As Christians, the scripture says that we should submit to the law of the land. They should pay their tributes; so Christians are meant to pay their tributes, taxes to the government because it’s what we have to support government to do what they have to do to tackle insecurity, provide good road network, education, agriculture and all of the other amenities.
“Not necessarily the church but the members of the church; they are citizens, and all citizens should pay their taxes. So, individuals that constitute the church, and the mosque must pay their taxes, because at the end of the day people come to church, mosque and they give their tithes, offering and most of those people have already paid their taxes. And if they have paid their taxes, it will be of more or less double incidence of taxation if you now begin to tax the church, mosque as a body.
“It’s a community of those who have paid taxes to government as citizens. As long as the people who constitute the church, mosque are paying tax, the church, mosque are exempted.
“We want to encourage the church, mosque to be more disposed to supporting their spiritual involvement, in terms of providing support for the less privilege, providing humanitarian services and all those stuff, which churches and mosques are meant to be doing too.
“So, instead of giving the money as a whole to government, churches and mosques should have a plan of action towards supporting the needy, supporting the under-privileged in the society. “Some churches and mosques that have schools, they should try to reduce the school fees, and whatever they are charging is more or less close to what government is charging. We have churches and mosques promoting education, promotion good health care too.
“Some have hospitals, they should as much as possible make it humanitarian, not necessarily on commercial basis.
“As long as churches and mosques are participating and partaking in the responsibility of government and alleviating the responsibility of the government through provision of education, provision of healthcare, and other humanitarian services then let the churches and mosques be, because the people that constitute the church, mosque are the people that are expected to pay their taxes as members of the society.
“And so, for the government to be charging them again, that will be double taxation, because the church and mosque are not isolated bodies. They are community of believers. Speaking further, Ogedengbe explained that if any church or mosque is doing business, like an income generating venture, “then they must pay tax on that income-generating business.”