The Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KADIRS) said on Tuesday that it would prosecute owners of 56 properties in the state over unpaid ground rent.
Executive Chairman of the service, Mukhtar Ahmed, made the disclosure in Kaduna at the launch of a digital application that integrates all the 63 revenue generating agencies in the state.
He said that a task force set up by the service a month ago uncovered the properties owing from N20 million and above.
“We will start our enforcement with them to show the seriousness of the state government in ensuring that every property owner in the state pay his or her ground rent as at when due,” the chairman said.
According to him, under the Land Use Act, all property owners are expected to pay their ground rent in the first week of January each year.
“But we are magnanimous enough to serve the affected property owners with demand notices; we have sent the first one as well as the final notices; the next step is to take the defaulters to court.
“The state’s tax law has provided that after 30 days of notice and no response, we can take the defaulters to court to retrieve what is due to the government as ground rent, “Mr Ahmed said.
The revenue service boss noted that Kaduna as an old city has some property records dating to as far back as 1914, with some passing through 50 owners but without proper documentation.
“It is a bit of challenge for us to get the real owners of such properties, but we have decided to begin with whoever lives in such property to lead us to the owner, so we would collect what is due to the state government.”
On the digital platform called Cashworx, Mr Ahmed said it was to bring all tax payers on one platform and link them up with the banks for easy payments.
He said that property and business owners in the state are not paying their due tax because of the absence of a comprehensive record that detailed their profile and properties owned.
“But with this digital interface, KDIRS will be able to profile and get the actual properties of individuals in the state and relate it with the tax they are paying to determine the gap.
“An individual will own 20 properties in Kaduna, but will declare one property and pay a meager amount, when in reality he has more than 20 houses.
“This information sharing interface, using the Tax Identification Number as common identifier, will profile and show us that Mr X is doing business with KADGIS, Motor Licence Office and Ministry of Commerce, and the Mr X has 20 houses, 10 cars and two businesses as the case may be.
“It will aggregate all the income of tax payer and asked him or her to pay the appropriate tax due to the state government,” the chairman explained.
According to him, the development will improve revenue generation and collection in the state.
He said that the platform was inaugurated, with Kaduna Geographic Information System, the first to be integrated onto the platform.
“Agencies that do not have the capacity, the state revenue service will deploy the needed application for them to come on board, “he added.
Also speaking, the Head of Geographic Information Service, Anis Halabi described the initiative as a milestone, adding that it would enhance revenue generation in the state.