Photo Caption: Mrs Adeosun fielding questions from participants on the VAIDS in Lagos on Friday.
Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Friday took once more to her personal twitter handle to appreciate the Federal and State, as well as foreign governments for providing unprecedented amounts of data on taxpayers.
This, she said, allowed the Federal Government “accurately profile tax payers and identify those whose lifestyles/assets are not consistent with their declared incomes.”
On the basis of this data collected, she continued, “we’ve collected—and it is very comprehensive data—we’ve compiled a list of people and companies we will be issuing letters to, asking them to carry out a self-assessment, and to take advantage of the government’s VAIDS (Voluntary Assets & Income Declaration Scheme) to correct any under-declaration.”
Although, the Minister said the first batch of 500 letters is ready for dispatch, among many more, she however clarified “that receiving the letter is not an accusation of deliberate wrongdoing; instead it’s a notice that the data we have suggests possible underpayment, and a prompt to check compliance.”
It would be premature for now, she continued, to tag persons who receive such letters, ‘Tax Evaders,” Adeosun said such persons will only be labeled as such when the VAIDS deadline expires in March 2018 and they fail to regularize their status.
“We will then proceed to apply the full weight of the law,” she warned.
Furthermore, the Minister warned that “non-receipt of a letter should not be taken as an indication that a company or person is exempt from the self-assessment.
“Regardless of whether you get a letter or not, our advice is that you should do a VAIDS self-assessment, and correct any under-declaration.”
Mrs Adeosun had while addressing the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and comprising governors of the 36 states and cabinet Ministers, among others, at a meeting on Thursday, urged all Nigerians to take advantage of the tax amnesty and “avoid prosecution and fines by simply paying up their tax defaults.”
Meanwhile, the Minister was in Lagos on Friday for a one-day training workshop on “Advising your clients on VAIDS,” which she spoke of how data remains an extremely powerful tool that we’re using at the Federal Ministry of Finance to profile taxpayers and block major loopholes that allow people and companies to underpay or avoid paying their taxes.
Declaring the event open, she explained why the role of tax advisors is critical to the success of the tax amnesty scheme, promising further collaboration with stakeholders for greater success of the scheme.