Having grossed N23 billion from the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) in 2017, the Federal Government expects to net considerable tax revenue this year through the scheme.
According to Mr. Tunde Fowler, Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), VAIDS had earned the Federal Government the sum of N17 billion by early December 2017 and another N6 billion was netted by the end of last year.
VAIDS is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Finance that provides a time-limited window for taxpayers with undisclosed income and assets to regularise their tax status.
The scheme, which terminates in March, has been widely lauded as the solution to the meagre Tax-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio of the country, which currently stands at 6 per cent. It is aimed at bringing more tax revenue for national development by arresting the trend of near-total dependence on oil revenues, which have shrunk following the dip in international oil prices.
Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Minister for Finance, in December, said that many individuals and corporate organisations with undeclared taxes have been approaching tax authorities and expressing interest in declaring and paying up their taxes.
Towards its implementation, the VAIDS office, beginning from October, has been harvesting financial data of taxpayers through the cooperation of states, revenue-generating agencies of government such as the FIRS, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) and the National Communications Commission (NCC).
Data obtained from the agencies will be used to determine companies that have failed to remit taxes on earned income, those with undeclared assets and corporate organisations that have collected taxes on behalf of government without remitting. State governments and the authority of the Federal Capital Territory have also shown support for the scheme by volunteering to provide transaction data necessary to identify defaulters.
The VAIDS office, in addition to a variety of technological tools and international information-sharing agreements, will rely on data on contracts and transactions above N50 million obtained from the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM). Such data are currently being matched with those obtained from FIRS, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and Government Integrated Financial and Management Information Systems (GIFMIS) to determine companies that have not been paying taxes.