The Federal Government on Thursday commenced an aggressive campaign to drive the rate of voluntary tax compliance in the country and boost tax revenue.
The campaign, which commenced at the headquarters of the Ministry of Finance in Abuja, saw top officials of the ministry as well as the Federal Inland Revenue Service visiting markets and other popular places within the Federal Capital Territory to sensitise people of the need for voluntary tax compliance.
The awareness campaign is part of measures to implement last week’s directive issued by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo that for the next one year, every Thursday should be celebrated as a tax day to educate Nigerians on the benefits of taxation.
The Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, who led the campaign in Abuja, said the tax awareness programme would be taken to all the 36 states of the federation.
He stated that the campaign would continue every Thursday for the next one year as declared by Osinbajo at the launch of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme.
He said in collaboration with the state governments, the campaign would raise the level of tax awareness and result in massive enrolment of new taxpayers.
According to him, through the programme, the Federal Government is targeting to bring in four million new taxpayers into the tax net as well as increase the level of payment among the 14 million already registered taxpayers.
He said, “The only way we can make Nigeria sweet is to start paying our taxes. We have come out with the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme, which gives everybody the opportunity to come out and declare their income and pay their contribution to ensure that Nigeria becomes a better place.
“I’m sure that if we all contribute, Nigeria will become the Nigeria of our dreams; the Nigeria that is prosperous and conducive to live in. Let’s join hands together to realise this dream by paying taxes.”
The Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council Traders’ Association, Mr. Edozie Ugwu, said traders would cooperate with the government by paying taxes in such a way that it would be difficult for the government to come with excuses for non-performance.
“We are ready to pay our taxes because without taxes, we cannot make the country work. We thank you for giving us the opportunity to regularise our taxes,” he said.
The VAIDS offers a grace period from July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, for tax defaulters to voluntarily pay back to government what they owe.
In exchange for full and honest declaration, the government promised to waive penalties that should have been levied and also waive the interest that should have been paid on overdue taxes.
Also, those who declare honestly will not be subjected to any investigation or tax audit after the grace period.