The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, says the Federal Government’s newly launched Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme will help the country to correct its poor tax-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio.
Adeosun described VAIDS as a credible platform put in place for defaulting Nigerian taxpayers to work out a flexible way to pay their outstanding tax liabilities in the past six years.
According to her, the scheme will also help taxpayers to regularise their tax transactions and obtain genuine tax clearance certificate for all the relevant years without fear of criminal prosecution for tax offences and with the benefit of forgiveness of interest and penalties.
She spoke in Abuja shortly after the launch of the scheme by the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo last week.
The VAIDS, according to the minister, offers a nine-month window to allow Nigerians, who may have evaded tax, whether ignorantly or deliberately, in the past six years, the opportunity to perform their civic duty and pay the correct taxes.
Adeosun said the scheme would help Nigerians to avoid criminal prosecution at the expiration of the scheme.
The scheme embraces all federal and state taxes such as Companies Income Tax, Personal Income Tax, Petroleum Profits Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Stamp Duties, Tertiary Education Tax, Technology Tax, Tenement Rates, and Property Taxes.
It also covers all back taxes for the last six years in line with the statutory periods of limitation under the relevant tax statutes.
She said, “The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme is specifically targeted at taxpayers who have not been fully declaring their taxable income/assets; have not been paying the tax due at all; have been underpaying or under remitting; are under a process of tax audits or investigations with the relevant tax authority; are engaged in tax disputes with the relevant tax authority but are prepared to settle the tax dispute out of court; new taxpayers who are yet to register with the tax authorities; and existing registered taxpayers who have new disclosures to make.”
She added, “It does not matter whether the relevant tax default arose from undeclared assets within or outside the country. If tax should have been paid, the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme is providing a once in a lifetime opportunity to declare the tax outstanding and resolve it definitively.”