A total of N30bn has been realised from taxpayers who have declared their assets under the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) of the Federal Government.
According to PUNCH, the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, gave the figure on Wednesday during the official presentation of the VAIDS certificates of declaration to chairmen of states’ tax revenue agencies.
The VAIDS offers a grace period from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 for tax defaulters to voluntarily pay back to the government what they owe.
In exchange for full and honest declaration, the government promised to waive penalties that should have been levied and also the interest that should have been paid on overdue taxes.
Also, those who declare their tax obligations honestly will not be subjected to any investigation or tax audit after the 11-month grace period.
Fowler said with less than three weeks to the expiration of the tax amnesty, the sum of N30bn had been realised from corporate and individual taxpayers who had so far taken advantage of the scheme.
He also stated that through the implementation of the scheme, the FIRS had been able to increase the number of taxpayers from 14 million to 19 million.
He added that while the FIRS was responsible for the collection of 90 per cent of the amount, the states accounted for the balance.
Fowler said, “As at date, the scheme has recovered nearly N30bn, both from individuals and corporate establishments. While the FIRS has collected about 90 per cent of this figure, the states have been responsible for collecting 10 per cent.
“Looking beyond the financial returns of the scheme, the impact it has had in promoting voluntary compliance is unquantifiable.
“One of the outcomes of the scheme, whether directly or indirectly, is the growth of the national taxpayer database from under 14 million pre-2016 number to over 19 million in 2018, and we are confident that these numbers will translate into a positive growth in the country’s tax revenue to GDP ratio when the official percentage for 2017 are released.”
The FIRS boss said some states had achieved significant progress in compliance rate under the scheme.
He added, “We believe that this aspect of the workshop will facilitate the exchange of ideas, which we are confident will assist all of us in utilising the remaining period that is provided by the scheme.
“The VAIDS goes beyond just taking advantage of immediate gains. In recent time, the incidence of illicit financial flows, aggressive tax avoidance and outright tax evasion have come into the front burner.
“The international community recognised the need to present a united front against this trend, which is a limiting factor in the quest towards exploiting the inherent potential of tax as a viable alternative to sustainable revenue generation, especially for developing and emerging economies.”
Fowler called on state revenue agencies’ chairmen to constantly engage in enlightening taxpayers about voluntary tax compliance as a way of building a friendlier tax environment.
He said the VAIDS tax certificate presented to states was not the same with tax clearance certificate, adding that one cannot replace the other.