FIRS To Go After Taxpayers For Defaulting On VAIDS Scheme

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) will soon commence a full-scale enforcement on defaulting taxpayers who did not take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).

The Executive Chairman, FIRS, Muhammad Nami, said this on Tuesday in a statement published on its Twitter page.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has two years ago disclosed that the Federal Government made use of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme programme to raise over N70bn from Nigerians.

The VAIDS programme was launched to encourage individuals and companies yet to declare their assets and taxes to come forward without prosecution from the tax administrator. This was a strategy deployed by the government to widen the tax bracket in the country.

Those who took advantage of the window will avoid paying interests and penalties and will not be prosecuted for tax evasion — assuming there is no court judgment already in place for specific cases.

Nami, who is also the chairman of Joint Tax Board (JTB), said a full-scale enforcement exercise, including prosecution, is to commence immediately on defaulting taxpayers who did not take advantage of the scheme.

According to the statement, the post-VAIDS enforcement and prosecution exercise is coming on the heels of a stakeholders’ webinar held on June 6, 2022, and organised by the FIRS.

During the webinar, Nami, citing data from the National Bureau of Statistics, said over 68 million businesses were active in Nigeria, while less than 20 million of these were active taxpayers.

He said this gap in compliance needed to be bridged through enforcement of compliance, and that the post-VAIDS activities were an avenue for businesses and individuals to voluntarily declare their assets and income, and register to pay tax or face full enforcement action by the service.

He said, “The Joint Tax Board (JTB) in conjunction with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), is embarking on a full-scale enforcement exercise, including prosecution of those defaulting taxable persons who did not take advantage of the scheme.

“The defaulting taxpayers will be assessed to tax in accordance with the relevant provisions of the tax laws.

“Taxpayers who had outstanding tax liabilities which had previously been declared under the scheme were encouraged to pay up their outstanding liabilities immediately to avoid having the reliefs granted by the scheme withdrawn.

“It is recalled that the voluntary assets and income declaration scheme (VAIDS), executive order No. 004 of 2017, provided an opportunity for taxpayers who were in default of tax liabilities to voluntarily declare their assets and income, and pay taxes due on them, and in return obtain amnesty from prosecution among
other benefits for a 12-month period from the 1st of July, 2017.”

Federal Inland Revenue Service .FIRSfirs
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