N42 million tithe to Benue Church returns clamour for taxing religious outfits
The recent news report showing that a man whose identity has been shielded by a local church, NKST in Makurdi, Benue State paid a tithe offering of N42 million has continued to elicit reactions from economists.
The NKST Church is an abbreviation for ‘Non go Kristu U Sudan hen Tiv’, meaning the Church of Christ Amongst the Tiv.
An economist and public affairs analyst in Lagos told Business Hilights on Sunday that “So far religious preachers continue to highlight the theory of giving in Churches which translates to growing the income of the outfit, they need to be taxed because that is marketing and marketing is a business strategy to grow profit”.
“The Bible even recognized that there should be tax paid on every profit made, so the church is liable to pay tax so far it has declared profit.
Another respondent who pleaded anonymity asked the Benue State Inland revenue Service to trace the account and find out if the owner is up to date in his personal income tax and company tax, saying the Bible which the tither relied up on to pay the money to the church made it clear that “We should give to Caesar and God what is due to them. He has given to God; he also needs to give Caesar which is the State.
Investigations by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Makurdi revealed that the money was paid into the UBA account of the NKST Church High level Makurdi.
Although the resident pastor of the church, Dr. Frederick Ikyaan, initially denied knowledge of such offering, a copy of the church’s quarterly financial report, covering the months of January – March, confirmed the payment of N42million tithe to the church.
The report showed that the lodgement was the highest single offering from an individual for the quarter. The money was paid into the church’s account in January.
The breakdown of the church’s financial report showed an income of N56.2 million and an expenditure of N33.7 million within the same period..
The church’s records also showed that out of the income, N44.6 million was generated from tithe, while a single person accounted for N42 million.
Reacting to the financial report, the pastor said his initial denial was based on the allegations that the donor was an appointee of the Benue State Government.
“I still stand by my words that the person that gave us that money is not an appointee of the state government. In fact, he does not even stay in Benue but is an indigene of the state.”
He said there was nothing wrong with the offering and insisted that the church has nothing to hide.