The founder of Sufficient Grace and Truth Ministry, Okinni, Osun State, Bishop Seun Adeoye, on Wednesday accused the Osun State Government of planning to impose taxes on religious houses in the state.
Adeoye, who is also the spokesman for African World Bishops Council, stated this on Wednesday at a press conference in Osogbo, the state capital.
According to him, the state Internal Revenue Service had compiled a list of religious centres preparatory to asking them to pay tax, adding that an IRS official gave the hint in a programme he monitored on Osun State Broadcasting Service on Tuesday.
The cleric insisted that religious centres, especially churches, were not business centres, adding that churches had practically taken over the duty of government by taking care of needs of the underprivileged residents.
Adeoye said: “Our churches today are like Internally Displaced Persons’ centres where food items and clothing are being distributed to people neglected by the government.
“Some of us have, in the past eight years, cried out about what we observed as uncontrolled stealing of public funds, capital flight, phantom projects and unrestrained appetite for all manner of loans by this government, but some people saw us as enemies of the immediate past administration on which foundation Governor Gboyega Oyetola is laying new bricks.
“After overstretching all sectors in its aggression to rake in money for its failures, the state government now resorts to taxing religious centres. This will be the first and the only state such is happening.
“Let Oyetola understand that this move is a call to war and some of us are ready to fight with every legal means. Already, I have started mobilising people towards this direction.”
However, the Chairman, Osun Internal Revenue Service, ‘Gbite Ademikanra, denied the allegation, saying that the state government was only planning to ensure that people working at religious centres pay tax.
According to him, private primary school owners would be asked to remit payroll taxes, adding that income generating outfits attached to the religious places would be taxed.
“The cleric (Adeoye) misunderstood us. It is not true. What my director said on the programme he watched was that employers of religious centres are supposed to be remitting the taxes of their workers.
“We won’t tax religious centres, but people drawing their salaries from religious centres must pay tax to government. Also, commercial outfits attached to religious centres must pay tax. For instance, a shopping complex owned by a religious centre should pay tax to government”, Ademikanran said.
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