The federal government of Nigeria has launched Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) where Nigerians are given a grace period of 6 months to declare their assets and pay all necessary taxes without interest, penalty or investigation.
Nigerians whose tax records are not consistent with their property must complete form VA1, clarify sources of income and also pay the outstanding taxes between July 1, 2017 and March 31, 2017.
Also, the government is said to have reviewed land ownership, exotic cars, yachts and private jets among other luxurious properties to know how to be able to correlate the assets of these persons to their taxes.
The penalty for persons who do not take advantage of the VAIDS scheme includes the risk of up to five years imprisonment, up to 100% of the outstanding tax due, a compounded 21% per annum and a forfeiture of the assets.
- One-off opportunity for evaders to avoid the full force of the law – Between 1 July and 31 December 2017 – evaders can regularise their tax status in exchange for immunity from prosecution of tax offences and a tax audit, and be absolved from penalty charges and interest.
- Less forgiveness for evaders who delay – Evaders who delay participation past 31 December 2017 will be liable for interest on overdue tax balances.
- Provision for installmental payment has been built into the scheme.
- Experts in place to assist the Federal Government – Expert, international asset tracers and investigative specialists have been appointed to assist the Federal Government in tracing assets held by Nigerians.
- In line with other proven, international schemes – Recent, similar schemes in 2016 have been implemented successfully in India, Indonesia and South Africa. VAIDS will bring Nigeria in line with international best practice and contribute to worldwide efforts to tackle corruption.
- Much needed funds will be generated and transparently invested – Anticipated funds to be raised are at least US$1 billion, which will reduce Nigeria’s borrowing needs, allow investment in vital infrastructure and spur development.
Photo Credit: Federal Government