The General Overseer of the Living Faith Church International, also known as Winners Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, according to Churchgist.org, has mentioned that the church will soon begin payment of tithes in trillion of Naira.
As a church, we started paying tithes when we were worth less than 1 million naira a year; we are now in the billions; very soon, we shall be hitting the trillions’
This has actually generated a debate on a popular Nigerian forum with a lot of people claiming it its time for churches and other religion organisations in the country to begin to pay taxes to the government.
And some other people argued that since the government had already received tax on the tithe being paid by members of the church, then the church does not need to pay tax to the government.
Well if they try that, the churches can easily centralise all their income in the US where Churches are exempted by law to pay tax. The foreign income from foreign stations would be diverted to USA and the Church reserves will also relocate to a more friendlier country. That I believe can hurt the Nigerian economy…(I tell you, if winners moves her reserves away from Nigeria at once, the bank holding the money will feel it)
They can lay hands on the offerings from Nigeria, but churches could make it harder for them by convincing members to pay online and route it to foreign accounts.
Now All that is assuming Govt can pass the legislation. But the rate at which Pentecostalism is growing and gaining representation in Govt. It would only become harder as the years goes by.
But then sef Winners pays taxes in other countries so no shaking. And Oyedepo has said the church is willing to pay taxes in Nigeria as long as the Muslims(Mosques) are included. Although he still makes a good point that canaanland provides its own water, electricity, road, schools, security etc so what is govt taxing them for exactly, especially since members already paid tax of the income they are tithing…