1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Taxation increases incentives for public participation in the political process and creates pressure for more accountability, better governance, and improved efficiency of government spending. Taxation also creates incentives for governments to upgrade their institutions for tax collection and administration and to provide more public services (Moore, 2007).
Taxes have existed virtually as long as there have been organized governments. The first tax law legislation was introduced in 1919 and ever since then taxes have evolved through a number of reforms. The government in an attempt to widen the tax base and collect more revenue has had to levy several taxes especially on business enterprises in Nigeria which constitute a large part of the formal sector. The taxes charged on business enterprises in Nigeria include; corporation tax, value added tax, presumption tax and exercise duty. In 1997 the Income Tax Act was made. This was to give guidance in assessment and computation of taxes (Campsy, 1997). The Nigerian government has made some recommendable efforts to promote development through taxation since the inception of the current taxation laws for purposes of promoting development. The main objective of taxation in Nigeria has always been to mobilise resources needed to meet the aspiration of government. This is because for any government to be effective, strong, competent and capable of spearheading development, resources have to be readily available in its treasury so as to be in position to provide goods and services to the people adequately. The Nigerian government has always had to ensure proper resource mobilization (Musa, 1992).
According to Manasseh (2000), a tax is generally referred to as a compulsory levy imposed by government upon various categories of assets and taxation is a compulsory and non refundable contribution imposed by government for public purposes. In Nigeria a considerable fraction of the businesses are sole traders operating small scale business, locally owned and managed by individuals or families and often with very few employees working at a single location (Nigeria development bank report, 1988). Taxation in Nigeria is based on system that existed in Britain as it was a British colony. This also applied to other colonies elsewhere and for East Africa, one tax system operated under British administration. This process began in 1900 with the hut tax regulation which imposed a standard charge for every hut/dwelling.