Economics Project Topics

The Effect of Tax Evasion on Nigeria Budget

The Effect of Tax Evasion on Nigeria's Budget

The Effect of Tax Evasion on Nigeria’s Budget

Chapter One

Objectives of the Study

The following specific objectives were examined in this study:

  1. To assess the extent of tax evasion in Nigeria over the past decade.
  2. To identify the key factors contributing to tax evasion in the country.
  3. To analyze the direct impact of tax evasion on the Nigerian national budget during the specified period.



Conceptual Review

Tax Evasion in Nigeria

Tax evasion in Nigeria is a pervasive issue with significant implications for the country’s fiscal health. Defined as the deliberate and illicit act of individuals or businesses evading tax obligations, tax evasion encompasses various deceptive practices such as underreporting income and hiding assets (Aguolu, 2021). These practices erode the tax base and undermine the government’s revenue collection efforts.

Examining the historical perspective of tax evasion in Nigeria reveals a persistent challenge that has adapted to changing economic conditions and regulatory landscapes over time (Nabb, 2017). Understanding the historical trends is crucial for policymakers, as it sheds light on the factors influencing the prevalence of tax evasion and informs the development of strategies that consider its evolving nature.

Tax evasion in Nigeria takes on various forms, and the methods employed continue to evolve to circumvent regulatory measures (Aguolu, 2021). Common evasion techniques include underreporting income, inflating deductions, engaging in transfer pricing manipulations, and utilizing tax havens. These tactics exploit gaps in tax laws and aggressive tax planning to minimize tax liabilities. Additionally, corruption within the tax administration, such as bribery and collusion with tax officials, further facilitates tax evasion (Aguolu, 2021; Kiabel & Nwokah, 2021).

In essence, a comprehensive exploration of tax evasion in Nigeria encompasses its definition, historical context, and evolving methods. This understanding is essential for policymakers, tax authorities, and researchers aiming to develop effective strategies to combat tax evasion and fortify the fiscal framework in Nigeria. It provides a nuanced perspective on the complexities surrounding this issue, enabling stakeholders to address regulatory gaps and enhance enforcement mechanisms.

Government Revenue and National Budget

Government revenue, particularly derived from taxation, plays a pivotal role in financing the national budget and driving economic development in Nigeria. Taxation serves as a fundamental source of revenue for the government, contributing significantly to its budgetary allocations (Ayua, 2023).

Taxation’s primary role in revenue generation is indispensable for funding various government activities, including public services, infrastructure development, and social welfare programs. The revenue collected through taxation forms a substantial portion of the national budget, enabling the government to undertake projects and initiatives that contribute to overall societal well-being (Ayua, 2023; Ojong et al., 2022).

The link between tax revenue and budgetary allocations is a critical aspect of fiscal management. The government relies on the revenue generated from taxes to allocate funds across different sectors, addressing priority areas such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure development (Budget Office of the Federation, 2017). The effective functioning of this linkage ensures that resources are distributed strategically to meet the country’s developmental goals.

However, challenges arise when tax evasion disrupts this link between tax revenue and budgetary allocations. Tax evasion undermines the implementation of the budget by reducing the available revenue pool (Ojong et al., 2022). The government faces difficulties in achieving its intended allocations and fulfilling developmental objectives when a significant portion of potential tax revenue is lost due to evasion.

The impact of tax evasion on budget implementation is multifaceted. It leads to budgetary deficits, hindering the government’s ability to execute planned projects and provide essential services (Ojong et al., 2022). This shortfall in revenue collection due to tax evasion can create financial strains, forcing the government to either cut down on planned expenditures or seek alternative means of financing, potentially resorting to debt accumulation.





The methodology section of this study is crucial for outlining the research design, population, sampling technique, sources of data, and the method of data analysis. It provides a detailed account of how the study was conducted, ensuring transparency and reproducibility in the research process.

 Research Design

In this study, a correlational research design was adopted to investigate the relationships between tax evasion and various macroeconomic variables in the Nigerian context. A correlational design is appropriate as it allows for the examination of associations between variables without manipulating them, providing insights into the natural patterns of their relationships (Saunders et al., 2019; Tashakkori & Teddlie, 2017). The use of a correlational design is justified by the nature of the research objectives, which seek to understand the links between tax evasion and macroeconomic outcomes.

 Population of the Study

The population of this study comprises all relevant macroeconomic variables within the Nigerian context. These include, but are not limited to, government revenue, GDP, inflation rate, unemployment rate, and foreign direct investment. The study focuses on these variables to comprehensively analyze the impact of tax evasion on the broader economic landscape. Anderson et al. (2020) emphasize the importance of clearly defining the population to ensure that the research outcomes are relevant and applicable to the targeted variables.







Summary of Findings

The comprehensive analysis conducted in this study aimed to provide insights into the complex dynamics of tax evasion in Nigeria, exploring its prevalence, contributing factors, and impact on the national budget over the period from 2010 to 2023.

The examination of tax evasion trends, as indicated in Table 4.1, revealed a mean Tax Evasion (TAXEV) score of 4.6421, with a standard deviation of 0.83802. The relatively consistent mean over the examined decade, coupled with a modest standard deviation, suggested that there has been no significant increase in the prevalence of tax evasion in Nigeria during this period. However, it is crucial to interpret this finding in conjunction with the subsequent regression analysis and correlation estimates to gain a more nuanced understanding of the factors influencing tax evasion.

The multiple regression model (Table 4.2) delved into the relationships between tax evasion and socio-economic variables, including Inequality Rate (INEQU), National Budget (NATBUDG), Corruption Index (CORUP), and Inflation Rate. The results indicated a significant negative relationship between tax evasion and the National Budget (β = -0.875, p = 0.018), suggesting that higher allocations in the national budget corresponded to lower levels of tax evasion. This finding aligns with the notion that a well-funded budget may contribute to more effective enforcement mechanisms and deterrence strategies, thereby reducing tax evasion.

Moreover, the correlations in Table 4.6 provided additional insights into the associations among the variables. The strong negative correlation between the National Budget and Tax Evasion (-0.614, p = 0.020) reinforced the regression findings, emphasizing the potential impact of budgetary allocations on curbing tax evasion. Additionally, the correlation between Inequality Rate and Tax Evasion (-0.331) suggested a moderate negative association, although it was not statistically significant. This implies that as inequality levels decrease, there might be a tendency for tax evasion to rise, although the observed trend could be due to chance.

The weak negative correlation between the Corruption Index and Tax Evasion (-0.217) indicated that higher levels of corruption might be associated with a decrease in tax evasion. However, this correlation was not statistically significant, underscoring the need for cautious interpretation. The Inflation Rate did not exhibit a significant correlation with tax evasion.

The regression model’s overall fitness was assessed through the Model Summary (Table 4.3) and ANOVA estimates (Table 4.4). The R-squared value of 0.659 indicated that approximately 65.9% of the variance in tax evasion could be explained by the selected predictors. The ANOVA results were statistically significant (p = 0.031), suggesting that the model was a good fit for the data.

The residuals analysis (Table 4.5) provided insights into the predictive accuracy of the model. The residuals’ mean value of 0.00000 indicated that, on average, the model’s predictions were close to the observed values. The standard deviation of residuals was 0.48941, suggesting that the model’s predictions were relatively consistent. The correlation estimates (Table 4.6) showed no severe multicollinearity issues among the predictors.

In conclusion, the findings of this study contribute valuable insights into the nuanced landscape of tax evasion in Nigeria. The stable prevalence of tax evasion over the past decade, coupled with the negative relationship between the National Budget and tax evasion, underscores the significance of robust budgetary allocations in curbing tax evasion. However, the non-significant correlation between corruption levels and tax evasion, alongside other non-significant associations, underscores the complexity of socio-economic factors influencing tax evasion. Policymakers should consider these findings when formulating strategies to enhance revenue collection and foster economic development. Further research and a deeper exploration of contextual factors are recommended to refine the understanding of tax evasion dynamics in Nigeria.


The findings of this study provide valuable insights into the dynamics of tax evasion in Nigeria over the period from 2010 to 2023. The analysis of descriptive statistics (Table 4.1) indicated a relatively stable prevalence of tax evasion, with no significant increase observed. This suggests a certain level of consistency in the behaviour of taxpayers over the examined decade. However, the subsequent regression analysis and correlation estimates (Tables 4.2 and 4.6) unveiled nuanced relationships between tax evasion and various socioeconomic factors.

The results rejected the hypothesis that socio-economic factors, specifically corruption and inequality, do not contribute significantly to tax evasion in Nigeria. The negative but non-significant correlation between corruption levels and tax evasion, coupled with the moderate negative association between inequality and tax evasion, implies a need for a more nuanced exploration of these relationships. The complex interplay of socio-economic factors in influencing taxpayer behaviour requires careful consideration in policy formulation.

Moreover, the regression model highlighted a significant negative relationship between the National Budget and tax evasion, supporting the rejection of the hypothesis that tax evasion does not significantly impact the Nigerian national budget. The finding underscores the critical role of budgetary allocations in shaping tax compliance and revenue collection. A well-funded national budget appears to act as a deterrent to tax evasion, emphasizing the importance of strategic fiscal planning and allocation.

In conclusion, the results indicate that tax evasion in Nigeria is influenced by a combination of factors, including budgetary allocations. Policymakers should consider these findings to devise targeted strategies for improving tax compliance and revenue generation. However, the non-significant associations between corruption, inequality, and tax evasion emphasize the need for further research to unravel the intricate dynamics of these relationships. Overall, this study contributes to the ongoing discourse on tax evasion in Nigeria and provides a foundation for future investigations into the multifaceted nature of taxpayer behaviour in emerging economies.


The following recommendations were proposed for this study:

  1. Strengthen Budgetary Allocations: Based on the significant negative relationship between the National Budget (NATBUDG) and tax evasion, policymakers should prioritize sufficient and strategic budgetary allocations. Adequate funding for tax enforcement and compliance measures is crucial in maintaining and potentially improving the stability observed in the prevalence of tax evasion.
  2. Enhance Tax Enforcement Mechanisms: To further curb tax evasion, authorities should focus on strengthening tax enforcement mechanisms. This includes investing in technology, training tax officials, and implementing data analytics tools to detect and deter tax evasion more effectively.
  3. Conduct In-Depth Studies on Corruption and Inequality: Despite the non-significant correlations observed in this study, it is essential to conduct more in-depth research on corruption and inequality to understand their nuanced roles in tax evasion. Future studies can explore the specific contextual factors that may contribute to these relationships and guide targeted policy interventions.
  4. Promote Transparency and Accountability: Enhancing transparency in tax processes and ensuring accountability in the use of tax revenues can foster trust between taxpayers and the government. This can lead to improved compliance as taxpayers perceive the tangible benefits of their contributions to national development.
  5. Encourage Public Awareness and Education: Public awareness campaigns and educational programs on the importance of taxation, its impact on national development, and the consequences of tax evasion can contribute to a culture of compliance. Informed citizens are more likely to fulfil their tax obligations willingly.
  6. Consider Progressive Tax Reforms: Policymakers should explore progressive tax reforms that take into account the socio-economic landscape of Nigeria. Tailoring tax policies to address specific challenges and disparities within the population can promote a fair and equitable tax system, potentially reducing incentives for evasion.
  7. Collaborate with International Bodies: Collaboration with international organizations and bodies involved in combating tax evasion can provide Nigeria with valuable insights and resources. Adopting global best practices and staying informed about international efforts can strengthen the country’s position in addressing tax evasion.
  8. Continued Research and Monitoring: Given the complexity of the issue, ongoing research is crucial. Continuous monitoring of tax evasion trends, coupled with regular evaluations of implemented policies, will enable policymakers to adapt strategies based on emerging challenges and opportunities.

Contribution to Knowledge

This study makes a significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge on tax evasion, particularly in the context of Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape. One noteworthy contribution is the empirical exploration of tax evasion trends over the past decade. By utilizing a correlational research design and analyzing macroeconomic variables, the study provides a nuanced understanding of the prevalence of tax evasion in Nigeria. The findings offer valuable insights into the stability of tax evasion rates, challenging conventional assumptions and providing a foundation for future research in this field.

Additionally, this study contributes to knowledge by identifying and analyzing key factors that contribute to tax evasion in Nigeria. The inclusion of socio-economic variables such as corruption, inequality, and the national budget adds depth to the understanding of the multifaceted nature of tax evasion. While the study did not find significant relationships in some cases, the nuanced exploration of these factors contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of their roles in shaping tax evasion dynamics.

Furthermore, the study’s focus on the direct impact of tax evasion on the Nigerian national budget contributes to the literature on the economic implications of tax non-compliance. The negative relationship between tax evasion and the national budget highlights the potential consequences for government revenue and, consequently, the execution of developmental projects. This insight is valuable for policymakers aiming to address budgetary challenges and allocate resources more effectively.

Methodologically, the study contributes to knowledge by justifying the use of a correlational research design in the examination of tax evasion trends and their determinants. The approach allows for the identification of associations and patterns, laying the groundwork for future research that may delve deeper into causal relationships. This methodological contribution adds rigour to the study’s findings and provides a template for researchers interested in exploring similar phenomena.

Finally, the study contributes to knowledge by emphasizing the importance of continued research and monitoring in the field of tax evasion. By recognizing the complexity and dynamic nature of tax-related issues, the study advocates for ongoing investigations to capture evolving patterns and inform adaptive policy measures. This emphasis on the need for continuous research aligns with the evolving nature of economic systems and the challenges posed by tax evasion, positioning this study as a foundation for future scholarly endeavours in the domain.

Limitations of the Study

Despite the contributions and insights provided by this study, several limitations must be acknowledged. Firstly, the study’s reliance on secondary data sources, such as national statistics and indices, introduces the possibility of data limitations and inaccuracies. The accuracy and reliability of the findings are contingent on the quality of the available data, and the study is vulnerable to any shortcomings present in the collected datasets. While efforts were made to use reputable sources, the inherent limitations of secondary data remain a constraint on the study’s robustness.

Another limitation pertains to the scope of the study, specifically the focus on macroeconomic variables. The exclusion of micro-level data, such as individual and corporate tax filings, restricts the depth of analysis on the intricacies of tax evasion. A more comprehensive understanding of the behavioural aspects and specific mechanisms of tax evasion would require access to micro-level data, which was beyond the scope of this study. Future research could address this limitation by incorporating micro-level data to provide a more detailed examination of tax evasion dynamics.

Additionally, the study’s correlational research design, while suitable for identifying associations, does not allow for the establishment of causation. The identified relationships between variables do not imply causation, and the study cannot determine the direction of influence. The study is limited in its ability to explain why certain patterns exist, emphasizing the need for future research that employs experimental or longitudinal designs to establish causative relationships and delve deeper into the mechanisms underlying tax evasion dynamics. Acknowledging these limitations is crucial for interpreting the study’s findings appropriately and guiding future research endeavours in this field.


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