The Federal Government has engaged an asset recovery firm to track the exact assets of tax defaulters that fail to take advantage of its nine months amnesty period under the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme.
The VAIDs programme offers a grace period from July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 for tax defaulters to voluntarily pay back what they owe to the government.
In exchange for full and honest declaration, the government promises to waive penalties and interest that should have been paid by the defaulters on overdue tax.
Also, those who declare honestly will not be subjected to any investigation or tax audit after the grace period.
Nigeria is said to have one of the lowest tax compliance rates in the world with a tax-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio currently standing at six per cent.
Top government officials involved in the implementation of VAIDS revealed that those who might fail to take advantage of the scheme and later found to have under-declared their incomes or assets would be treated as wilful tax evaders and face the full wrath of the law.
The official said apart from prosecution, the government had agreed to provide the public with identities of tax evaders under a “name and shame programme” after the expiration of the nine-month amnesty period.
According to the official, “Specifically, we have engaged one of the world’s leading asset tracking and recovery firms who will track the true assets of those who have not participated but are believed to have underpaid their taxes.
“This will be supported by criminal prosecution, and recovery of taxes due with full penalties and interest. In addition, we plan a ‘Name and Shame’ programme that will reveal the identities of tax evaders.”
The Federal Government on Thursday commenced a campaign to drive the rate of voluntary tax compliance in the country in order to boost the level of revenue generated through taxes.
The awareness campaign is part of measures to implement last week’s directive issued by Acting President Prof Yemi Osinbajo that every Thursday should be celebrated as a tax day to sensitise Nigerians to the benefits of taxation.
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