No more tax havens for defaulters, minister discloses
The Federal Government is to, henceforth, crosscheck all tax declarations, including those who hide under the Offshore Tax Havens scheme with a view to sanctioning defaulters.
Consequently, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has urged a review of existing tax planning schemes.
According to her, the exercise would assist qualified Nigerians to access the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) and regularise their status where necessary.
A statement by her Special Adviser, Media and Communications, Oluyinka Akintunde, quoted the minister as making the assertion yesterday at an interactive session with the newsmen in Abuja while responding to the legality or otherwise of offshore tax shelters.
Reiterating that the use of tax avoidance schemes was legal, while tax evasion was not, Adeosun said the critical question to ask was if all applicable taxes had been paid before the transfer of funds or assets to a tax shelter.
Her words: “If all taxes had been paid, then there will be no additional liability except tax payable on further income earned on those funds. However, if taxes have not been paid, then the use of such schemes is illegal.
The minister enjoined users of such facilities to seek professional advice, adding that her ministry was offering free training to experts on VAIDS to enable them advise their clients appropriately.
Adeosun said compliance had become important as the country’s low tax revenue was at variance with the lifestyles of a large number of her people and value of assets known to have been owned by Nigerians globally.
She warned that with the increasing global focus on illicit financial flows and tax evasion, offshore tax shelters no longer offer robust protection against concerned authorities, while the continued operation of such schemes poses enormous risks for the users.
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