FG May Extend VAIDS Deadline as Powerful Tax Evaders Pile Pressure

April 1, 2018
FG May Extend VAIDS Deadline as Powerful Tax Evaders Pile Pressure

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

There are strong indications that Federal Government may extend deadline for its tax amnesty programme called Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).

The exercise, which started on July 1, 2017, expired on Saturday, March 31, 2018.

The programme was to give tax defaulters an opportunity to regularise their taxes without being fined or sent to prison for tax evasion.

But some state governments and powerful individuals and organisations are putting pressure on government to extend the exercise by at least three months.

Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, while responding to media enquiries in Abuja, confirmed that there have been pleas for an extension.

According a statement issued by her media aide, Oluyinka Akintunde, the Minister was quoted as saying that “some states of the federation and the private sector had asked for an extension of the deadline in order to allow them more time to comply.”

The Minister said government was already “reviewing the numerous extension requests by the states and the private sector, which have cited some logistic challenges such as non-availability of the declaration forms in some states and the declaration of public holidays to commemorate Easter.”

She said “tax evaders risk forfeiting their assets and prosecution as the government’s data mining unit in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Project Lighthouse, had compiled data of tax payers from land registries from 36 States and Federal Capital Territory as well as their bank accounts.”

The Minister disclosed that government has “received tremendous support from foreign countries which provided data under the exchange of information protocols.”

According to her, “The data include bank records and financial filings for tax purposes.”

It was disclosed that the Project Lighthouse has identified the common violations by non-compliant tax payers to include: Under-declaration of and non-declaration of income earned including income from Government contracts and overseas trading; Collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) which is not duly remitted to the FIRS; charging of non-allowable personal expenses to company accounts particularly with reference to overseas school fees; and Inconsistency between income declared for tax purposes and the value of assets owned.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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