The President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government, through the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has said that the Federal Government will expose, disgrace, and prosecute all tax evaders that fail to utilise the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme, VAIDS, to regularise their tax profiles.
She also disclosed that the Federal Government would strictly adhere to the confidentiality of the automatic exchange of financial account information in tax matters, in line with the guidelines of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD.
Adeosun said this yesterday, at the VAIDS Stakeholders Symposium, held at the Umaru Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Murtala Square, in Kaduna State.
The sensitisation programme was attended by Governor of the State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai; Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Idris Ahmed; Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mr. Babatunde Fowler; members of the State Executive Council, Captains of Industry and Business owners.
The Minister, who stated that the Federal Government had the political will to prosecute tax evaders once the tax amnesty programme was over by March 31, 2018, said:
“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 income with their tax payment.
“We will close VAIDS at the expiration of the programme on March 31, 2018. And once the programme is closed, we will name and shame and also prosecute tax evaders.”
She noted that the information sourced through data sharing with foreign countries, would strictly be used for tax purposes.
Meanwhile, El-Rufai, who disclosed that he declared his assets in 2017, commended the collaboration between the Federal and State Governments on tax.
He pledged to provide land ownership data to tax authorities at the Federal and State levels, as part of measures to bring more income earners and asset owners into the tax net.