THE TAXMAN’S DILEMMA: STRIKING A BALANCE BETWEEN PROTECTION AND DISCLOSURE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
One government agency with an overwhelming statutory responsibility to protect and safeguard personal information in its custody is the Taxing Authority. In this regard, citizen’s financial information contained in tax returns filed with the taxing authorities are statutorily meant to be kept confidential by the taxing authority and its officers who by virtue of their office came into possession, knowledge or custody of such information.
However, in our World of competing rights and responsibilities, there have arisen circumstances where necessity dictates that such information be disclosed. For instance, information on the tax return filed by a citizen or company in Country A, may be very germane and helpful to the taxing authority’s effort in Country B in their attempt to prevent the same individual or company or his/its close associates from evading his/its tax liability in their own jurisdiction. Thus, this has resulted in a concerted global collaborative effort in tackling tax evasion via the establishment of legal framework for the sharing of tax information across international borders. In this regard therefore, this article seeks to appraise the competing and conflicting situations where individuals’ tax information is concurrently legally required to be protected and disclosed at the same time, and seek to strike a balance between these competing and conflicting legal demands.
Olagoke Odubunmi (LL.M, BL.) is a Private Legal Practitioner based in Lagos Nigeria (070332367526)
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