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VAIDS identifies, writes defaulters, takes tax compliance campaign to Enugu


• Intensifies income data collection

The Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) office in the Federal Ministry of Finance, has identified thousands of tax defaulters across Nigeria, and has written to them, requesting compliance before the expiration of the declaration period on March 31.According to the VAIDS office, the defaulters, mostly high net-worth individuals (HNIs), were identified through transaction, income and assets data obtained from a variety of sources.
Following the identification process, the VAIDS office communicated with them via nudge letters to draw attention to their defective tax status.

The letters revealed the VAIDS office has elicited positive responses from recipients, with many of them visiting or phoning in to request for more information on declaration and compliance. More letters are currently being sent out to other identified defaulters based on transaction data obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), state governments, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), land registries.

Data were also collated from payment platforms such as Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System, and Remita in the case of tax-defaulting companies.The scheme, which came into being last July, is a tax amnesty programme that provides a time-limited opportunity for tax defaulters to regularise their tax status.

The Federal Government is offering, as part of the amnesty, freedom from penalties on owed taxes and tax audits as well as freedom from prosecution for taxpayers, who truthfully declare their liabilities. The scheme also offers defaulters the chance of spreading payments over a three-year period.In a related development, the Enugu State Government, will, on Thursday (today), host officials of VAIDS, business leaders and traditional rulers.

The VAIDS team will be led by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, whose ministry ‎conceived VAIDS, as a solution to the country’s defective tax system. The team will be received by Enugu Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and members of the State Executive Council.

An estimated sum of $1billion is expected to be raised in taxes from the implementation of VAIDS. The scheme is also targeted at raising Nigeria’s Tax-‎to-GDP ratio from the meagre six per cent to 15 per cent by 2020.

This is expected to happen by bringing many taxpayers into the tax net. Already, the VAIDS office has received financial and transaction data of over five million Nigerians, including corporate entities. The data, obtained from a variety of sources, are being analysed to yield an accurate picture of tax compliance.

The Federal Government has also announced that it is working on modalities to implement the Common Reporting Standards (CRS), which would ensure that every taxpayer’s information is obtainable from directly from the commercial banks.Under full implementation, all the banks in the country must submit information about their taxpayers’ information, identity numbers and bank verification numbers (BVN) to tax authorities. Such information can be shared with other countries that are signatories to the CRS.

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