Nigerian govt pledges to shame, prosecute tax offenders from April 1

The federal government is ready to prosecute, name and shame tax-evaders, who fail to utilise the tax amnesty programme – the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), to regularise their tax profiles, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said on Thursday.
She also disclosed that the federal government would strictly adhere to the confidentiality of the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters, in line with the guidelines of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The minister made this known at the VAIDS Stakeholders Symposium held at the Umaru Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Murtala Square, in Kaduna State.
The sensitisation programme was attended by the Executive Governor of the State, Nasir el-Rufai, Accountant General of the Federation, Idris Ahmed, Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, members of the State Executive Council, captains of industries and business owners.
Adeosun stated that the federal government had the political will to prosecute tax-evaders once the tax amnesty programme was over by March 31, 2018.
She saidthat, “The Federal Government has the political will and data to go after tax evaders, who fail to take advantage of the tax amnesty programme. Many Nigerians cannot explain their lifestyles or match their lifestyles, assets and income with their tax payment.
“We will close VAIDS at the expiration of the programme, on March 31, 2018. And once the programme is closed, we will name and shame and also prosecute tax evaders.”
On data sharing with foreign countries, the minister noted that the information sourced would strictly be used for tax purposes.
“The guideline requires that the automatic exchange of financial account information must be specifically designed with residence jurisdictions’ tax compliance in mind rather than be a by-product of domestic reporting for it to be effective,” she said.
She added that the automatic exchange of information had become necessary to combat tax evasion and protect the integrity of tax systems.

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