VAIDA: Tax evades will face full wrath of law by March 31st deadline- Minister
From Maryam Ahmadu-Suka, Kaduna
Tax evaders who fail to key into the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme VAIDS window by 31st March, 2018 will be liable for interest on overdue tax balances, forfeiture of assets as well as imprisonment of up to five years, finance minister Kemi Adeosun has said.
Speaking at a one-day stakeholders meeting on VAIDS in collaboration with the Kaduna state government yesterday in Kaduna, the minister alluded that Nigeria has just 14 million tax payers out of 70 million who are economically active.
She frowned at the fact that so many people who should be paying taxes are not adding, “It is the development of taxes that will help the States and the Federal Government to achieve their true potentials.”
She said, “The scheme is reflective of the Federal Government’s desire to bring many more eligible taxpayers into the tax net and encourage, with incentives of confidentiality as well as waiver of the interests and penalties, those who had knowingly or otherwise under-declared or never declared previously earned incomes and acquired assets.
“In addition to the above, the scheme also offers tax defaulters the option of spreading payment of outstanding liabilities over a maximum period of three years as may be agreed with the relevant tax authority.
“Job creation is one of the spin-offs of the VAIDS initiative, with the scheme expected to create a total of 7,500 opportunities for Nigerians as Community Tax Liaison Officers (CTLOs) through the N-Power scheme of the Federal Government.”
She said predictable tax revenue inflow will lead to more investment by the Federal and State Governments in infrastructure and job and wealth creation across the nation.
On his part, the Executive Chairman, Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KDIRS), Mukhtar Ahmed said the state generated more than N200 million from the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) between June 2017 to date.
He described the scheme as a window of opportunity for those concerned to do so voluntarily adding, “If a tax payer comes forward and voluntarily declares his undisclosed income and assets, he will enjoy a waiver of interests and penalties and a waiver of prosecution.