The Companies Income Tax Act provides the architecture for corporate income taxation (CIT) in Nigeria. It specifies the rate, the tax base and contains the bulk of the incentives to which qualified corporate taxpayers are entitled. This thesis investigates the influence of incentives on the compliance behaviour of micro and small companies (MSCs) in Nigeria. By Nigeria’s standard, these are companies which: (1) employ between 1 to 49 persons and/or own assets (excluding land and building) valued at less than NGN 100million; or (2) are either private limited companies or one-man businesses. In the context of the Nigerian tax system, MSCs are corporate taxpayers with turnover of less than NGN 200 million. This choice of research population is a consequence of the globally acknowledged niche occupied by MSCs vis-à-vis the of the socio-economic objectives of any state.
In the course of the study, the formulated research questions were resolved using a multi-stage mixed methods framework which allowed for the fusion of qualitative and quantitative epistemology as well as facilitated the introduction of pragmaticism into the research process. The thesis, inter alia, identified gaps in the administrative regime of CIT incentives in Nigeria and highlighted the fact that they have the potential to introduce uncertainty into the tax system. In addition, it revealed that the regulatory regime for the role and services of tax intermediaries within the tax system, in terms of current standards and reality, is sub-optimal. On the basis of a survey of a small sample of MSCs, it was concluded that the influence of tax intermediaries with regard to the compliance behaviour of MSCs was marginal. Reason for this was traced to the fact that the role and services of the latter vis-à-vis clients who are MSCs are actuated by variables which are within the psycho-social space of the tax intermediairies and the desires/requests of the MSC. This dismisses, in the context of Nigeria, the notion that the tax intermediary is the initator of every tax dodge.
Based on the findings, the thesis, inter alia, recommended a re-orientation in the conceptualisation of tax compliance as the prevailing theoretical premise for the extant tax law and policy does not contemplate that non-economic factors and referents outside the realm of taxation are capable of influencing tax compliance behaviour. In addition, recommendations with the capacity to change the law, policy and administrative regime relating to CIT incentives as well as the role and services provided by tax intermediaries were made after an examination of the situation in Kenya and South Africa.