Banks To Report Tax Defaulters To FG

Babatunde Fowler, chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)

Deposit Money Banks in the country are rolling out plans that will see them share data of wealthy customers and taxpayers to the Federal Government.

The latest development is part of the Common Reporting Standard programme, which Nigeria signed up to last August.

The CRS, which promotes sharing of information across borders, is being driven by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an intergovernmental body with 35 member countries.

As part of the agreement, the Federal Government directed the DMBs to release information on the income and assets of their customers, especially those of over 12,000 high net worth individuals, who are either not paying taxes or have been underpaying.

The government said the purpose was to enforce compliance of the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), launched in July, 2017.

The scheme is a nine-month tax amnesty given to every Nigerian, especially the high net worth individuals, to enable them to declare their assets and incomes and get certain waivers, including penalties and interest payments.

The banks are said to be working on the appropriate technologies that will enable them submit the required data to the government, as the nine-month scheme is set to expire on March 31.

The information is also expected to be shared with other countries, which in turn will make available details of accounts and assets held by Nigerians in them.

This follows a discovery by the Federal Government that many Nigerians were not in the country’s tax net.

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