VAIDS: 3 STATES READY TO PROVIDE DATA ON HIDDEN ASSETS

Chika Amanze-Nwachuku

Three states- Lagos, Osun and Kaduna as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) administration have promised to provide all transaction data required to identify tax defaulters at the expiration of the first phase of the tax amnesty programme in March.

This was disclosed in a statement issued wednesday by the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration (VAIDS) office in the Federal Ministry of Finance.

The VAIDS office, according to the statement, expects states that provide all the required information to experience sharp rises in their respective Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), as analyses of the obtained data will lead to considerable recovery of otherwise lost revenues and yield reliable information on eligible taxpayers.

Recently, the VAIDS office disclosed that it has begun collection of data on the income and assets of high net-worth individuals and companies in Nigeria. Useful data of all payments and receipts over N100million, said the VAIDS office, have been obtained from the Nigerian Customs Service. Also, data on all beneficiaries of payments above N100million have been obtained from the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Export-Import Bank Over. Vital information has also been mined from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and land registries.

The VAIDS office also said it is equally looking to derive more data from treasury bills, Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and payment platforms such as Remitta.

“This is the first step in collecting intelligence that will provide information on corporate entities and individuals who may refuse to take advantage of VAIDS. The data being collected is on individual and corporate liquid as well as fixed assets and income over the last five years, both within and outside Nigeria. Data collected will be profiled against tax payments made by such individuals and corporate entities,” said the VAIDS office.

VAIDS, an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Finance, provides a time-limited opportunity for taxpayers with liabilities to regularise their tax status by truthfully declaring previously undisclosed assets and income. Taxpayers who take advantage of the window will avoid penalties and interest on taxes owed, tax audits and prosecution for tax offences.

The federal government expects, through the implementation of VAIDS, to generate $1billion, raise the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio from a meagre 6 per cent, one of the lowest in the world, to 15 per cent by 2020 and provide improved tax education to boost voluntary tax compliance.

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