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Tax amnesty: FG rakes N30bn from VAIDS

The Federal Government has recovered about N30 billion from individuals and corporate establishments through the tax amnesty scheme, Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).

 The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, made this disclosure at the unveiling of the VAIDS Declaration Certificate, on Thursday in Abuja at a Workshop organised for chairmen of States’ Inland Revenue Service.

He explained that 90 per cent of the amount was collected by the FIRS, while the remaining 10 per cent was recovered by the States.

Fowler, who is also the Chairman of the Joint Tax Board, stated that the national taxpayers’ database had increased from 14 million in 2016 to over 19 million in 2018

It is however, worthy of note that the federal government had approved the issuance of a Declaration Certificate to taxpayers under the VAIDS.

The Declaration Certificates, which was approved by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, are to be given to taxpayers who voluntarily declared their previously undisclosed assets and income.
Fowler disclosed that the certificate was customised for each State tax authority with several security features and would be issued to the taxpayers upon submission of their declaration forms.
He expressed optimism that the number would translate into a positive growth in the country’s Tax Revenue to GDP ratio.

He commended many States of the federation whom he said have achieved significant success in implementing the tax declaration policy, and urged the various tax administrators to adequately educate, enlighten and sensitise taxpayers to be fully alive to their tax obligations.
 
The FIRS boss said, “As part efforts towards appreciating and motivating tax payers who voluntarily declared their previously undisclosed assets and income, a VAIDS Declaration Certificate (VDC) will be issued to them.
 
Fowler urged tax defaulters who are yet to take advantage to VAIDS amnesty window, to do so before it ends on June 30, 2018.
 
He reiterated that at the expiration of the amnesty period, any individual or company who failed to take advantage of the program, risks facing jail term, as tax evasion is a criminal offense in Nigeria.

“As at date, the scheme have recovered nearly N30 billion, both from individuals and corporate establishments. While the FIRS has collected about 90 per cent of the figure, the state has been responsible for collecting 10 per cent.
 
Looking beyond the financial returns on the scheme, the impact it has had in promoting voluntary compliance is unquantifiable.”
 
According to him, one of the outcome of the scheme, whether directly or indirectly is the growth of the national taxpayer data base from under 14 million in 2016 to over 19 million in 2018.
 
“We are confident that this number will translate to a positive growth in the country’s tax revenue to GDP ratio when the official percentage for 2017 is released,” he added.
 
Earlier in his remarks, the Executive Secretary, Joint Tax Board, Mr. Oseni Elamah said that henceforth, each tax authority was expected to issue taxpayers the VAIDS certificate upon submission of their forms.
 
“It is pertinent here to distinguish between the VAIDS Declaration Certificate and the Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) to disambiguate the purpose of the two documents.

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