Nigeria’s federal government has vowed to wield the big stick on tax offenders as it said it is ready to prosecute, name and shame tax evaders that fail to utilise the tax amnesty program, the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), to regularize their tax profiles.
Speaking on behalf of the federal government on Thursday at a VAIDS stakeholders’ symposium held in Kaduna State, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, gave tax evaders a 30-day grace period – March 31, 2018 – after which it would begin to prosecute the offenders.
The sensitisation programme was attended by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai; the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Idris Ahmed; Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Babatunde Fowler; members of the State Executive Council; and business owners.
The minister, according to a statement by her Media Adviser, Oluyinka Akintunde, also said that the Federal Government would strictly adhere to the confidentiality clause in the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in tax matters.
This, she added, was in line with the guidelines of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Adeosun stated that the Federal Government had the political will to prosecute tax evaders once the amnesty programme was over by March 31, 2018.
Her words: “The Federal Government has the political will and data to go after tax evaders who fail to take advantage of the tax amnesty programme. Many Nigerians cannot explain their lifestyles or match their lifestyles, assets and incomes with their tax payment.
“We will close the VAIDS at the expiration of the programme on March 31, 2018. And once the programme is closed, we will name and shame, and prosecute tax evaders.”