The Lagos State Government plans to blacklist music star, Davido; Comedian and film producer, Ayo ‘AY’ Makun and other celebrities accused of tax evasion so they don’t pay tax these days.
This is coming as the Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice vows that the days of treating celebrities like sacred cows are over.
On January 14, it was reported that Davido and AY have been charged to court over tax evasion.
While Davido, the chief executive officer of HKN Music, was charged before a Lagos High Court in July 2017, AY’s case was instituted in 2016.
“Despite their huge earnings, neither of them has ever filed tax returns as required by law or paid any amount. Rather, they are claiming residency in their states of origin,” a source in the Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit which was set up in March 2016 to aid the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) in its tax collection drive told Qed.ng, an online newspaper.
Dismissing the argument that Davido and AY pay their taxes in Osun and Ondo States as their respective states of origin, the source added that “the tax law states that individuals pay to their state of residence.
Davido’s father, Dr. Adedeji Adeleke, pays his tax to the Lagos State Government.
The singer, who lives and claims to have made N500 million from his last show in Lagos, cannot be ignorant of that trite law.
“If his father who has a bigger connection to Osun pays his tax in Lagos, we wonder what must have informed Davido’s excuse of paying to a state where he was not born, and where he neither lives nor does any significant business.”
Beyond prosecuting celebrity tax defaulters, Qed.ng learned that the state government is planning to stop patronising them.
Davido was one of the stars contracted and paid to perform at the 2017 edition of the annual One Lagos Fiesta organised by the state government in December.
The state also supported the annual AY Live comedy show held at the Eko Convention Centre on April 16, 2017.
“Davido, AY and other artistes have benefitted from the huge investment the Lagos State Government is making in art, culture and tourism. Now, they risk being blacklisted for not fulfilling their civic responsibilities.
“The days of treating celebrities like sacred cows are over. Those who do not file their tax returns will lose juicy Lagos deals in addition to prosecution by the state government,” the source concluded.