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VAIDS: FG Recruits 2,190 Tax Officers, Deploys 1,710 To 33 States

The Federal Government said it has recruited and trained 2,190 Community Tax Liaison Officers (CTLOs) under the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).

Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, made this known in a statement on Sunday.

According to the statement issued by Oluyinka Akintunde, Special Adviser, Media and Communications to the minister, Adeosun said about 1,710 CTLOs have been deployed to 33 states.

She said their task was to raise awareness about the scheme and taxation in general.

The minister warned Nigerians evading tax, that the Federal Government had put in place a data mining mechanism to fish them out.

Launched in July this year, VAIDS is a weekly public enlightenment campaign to sensitize Nigerians to embrace voluntary declaration and prompt payment of taxes.

Following the development, the government declared every Thursday “Tax Thursday”, earmarked to sensitize citizens on the importance of tax and its role in the development of the country.

Adeosun said: “The unique cooperation between the various arms of Federal Government, state governments and foreign governments has provided an unprecedented level of data that allows the Nigerian Government to profile taxpayers accurately.

“We are now able to identify those whose lifestyle and assets are not consistent with their declared income.

“A lot of data mining is going on daily, both locally and internationally, on property ownership and other items. Data is an extremely powerful tool that is now being utilized.

“For instance, we have reviewed all companies that received major payments from the Federal Government in the last 5 years and found that even those who made money from government, under-declared,” she said.

Adeosun said that the tax compliance team had looked at import records and compared the value of goods imported to the tax declarations of the importers, but the discovery was worrisome as “the variance was disturbingly wide”.

“On personal income taxes, we reviewed property and company ownership as well as registration of high value assets and foreign exchange allocations, which gives us a sense of the lifestyles of the persons,” the minister added.

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