Nigerian government recovers N30 billion ($83m) from its Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme

The Federal Government of Nigeria announced on Wednesday that it has recovered about N30 billion or $83 million from individuals and corporate establishments through a tax amnesty scheme known as Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).

The government launched the amnesty scheme last year, warning that those who fail to declare their assets and income voluntarily would be severely punished if found out.

Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, set March 31, 2018, as the deadline. But that date was pushed back by President Muhammadu Buhari who is seeking re-election next year.

On Wednesday, the government said it has recovered about N30 billion from the scheme, and approved the issuance of a Declaration Certificate to taxpayers who did the right thing by declaring their assets and income.

The Declaration Certificates, which was approved by the Minister of Finance are to be given to taxpayers who voluntarily declared their previously undisclosed assets and income.

The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, unveiled the VAIDS Declaration Certificate on Wednesday in Abuja at a Workshop organised for chairmen of States’ Inland Revenue Service.

Fowler disclosed that the certificate was customised for each State tax authority with several security features and would be issued to the taxpayers upon submission of their declaration forms.

Mr Fowler said the Federal Government had recovered about N30 billion from individuals and corporate establishments through the tax amnesty scheme.

According to him, 90% of the amount was collected by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), while the remaining 10% was recovered by the States.

Fowler, who is also the Chairman of the Joint Tax Board, said the national taxpayers’ database had increased from 14 million in 2016 to over 19 million in 2018.

He expressed optimism that the number would translate into a positive growth in the country’s Tax Revenue to GDP ratio.

He commended many States of the federation whom he said have achieved significant success in implementing the tax declaration policy, and urged the various tax administrators to adequately educate, enlighten and sensitise taxpayers to be fully alive to their tax obligations.

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