The Federal Government will deploy and rely heavily on technology to increase tax compliance under the recently inaugurated Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun has said.
Adeosun made this known in a statement signed by the Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr Salisu Dambatta on Monday in Abuja.
She explained that the signing of an Executive Order by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on Assets Declaration, underlines the seriousness attached to the scheme, which would be vigorously implemented.
“Technology has been key in enabling us to build an accurate financial profile for Nigerians, and based on the information we gathered, we saw that the level of non-compliance was very high.
“From that, we knew we had to do something about it. In the past, tracking true income and assets would have been difficult but now, it is at the touch of a button.
“So far, the government has deployed data mining to compile data on thousands of tax payers, which shows the level of non-compliance and tax evasion.
“We will also get added data through BVN, land registry and other sources within Nigeria as well as data from foreign governments. We will also get overseas data from an international asset tracking firm,’’ she said.
Adeosun urged tax payers to take advantage of the VAIDs programme to regularise their tax status. She reiterated that the grace period for tax evaders to voluntarily pay back was from July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018.
“What VAIDS is doing is giving tax payers, both companies and individuals, a window of opportunity to regularise, to come clean so to speak, to declare fully and honestly.
“ In exchange for full and honest declaration, what we are assuring is that we will waive penalties that should have been levied and also waive the interest that should have been paid on overdue tax.
“Those who declare honestly will not be subjected to any investigation or tax audit after the grace period,’’ she explained.
She said the scheme would also help increase tax awareness and education, adding that the government plans to hire 7,500 fresh graduates as Community Tax Liaison Officers, through the N-Power programme.
The minister gave assurances of the judicious use of funds, saying that “tax payment is part of the civic partnership between the people and government which would enhance participation and accountability.”
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