FIRS accumulates $50m through VAIDS

The Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) might just have made more Nigerians more responsive to issues of tax as the scheme has garnered $50 million, the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler has said.

VAIDS was introduced in July as an initiative designed to encourage voluntary disclosure of undisclosed assets and income for the payment of outstanding taxes.

A nine-month grace was granted all tax defaulters to pay up.

The scheme is being implemented by the FIRS in collaboration with all the 36 State Internal Revenue Services and the FCT IRS.

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The scheme allows the government to gather intelligence locally and through various international conventions and multilateral agreements to obtain information required for prosecution of defaulting taxpayers or those who make false declarations.

An international forensic and asset tracking company has been engaged to support the process.

Speaking at the Nigeria Governors’ Forum annual IGR Peer Learning Event, the FIRS boss said barely four months after its introduction, VAIDS has increased Nigeria’s earnings by $50 million.

I am glad to note that a lot of enquires have been made both at the states and federal levels. At the federal level, over $50 million has been realised through this scheme,” Fowler said, urging the public to support the tax authorities and revenue agencies.

I will like to inform everyone here that the consolidation of our tax database is now being completed. This means that before the end of  2017, wherever you are, as long as you are a tax administrator, you hit the button and know the tax status of any individual and organisations, regardless of where they are located.

There will also be a time when we ask other revenue agencies, such as Customs and Immigration, that their services should be offered to only tax inclined corporations and individuals,” he said.

We highlighted sometime last year that before you get service from any of these organisations, be it Immigration for your passport renewal, issuance, you have to show evidence of your tax payment. I am glad to report that by the end of this year we will be in the position to confirm the tax status of individuals and corporate organisations and those that are in default will not be allowed to benefit from government services.

Fowler also noted that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between FIRS and various state revenue bodies was making progress.

I am glad to note that the governors and commissioners of finance have agreed in principle to update as all states have been signed on, we hope from this month on, all states will be complaint with remittance of VAT and holding tax as at when due.

This will not only increase IGR at the state level but will also increase IGR at the federal level. It also note that the VAT collected, 25% goes back to the states,” Fowler said.

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