FG May Sell off 2,000 Houses in Abuja over Tax Avoidance

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Taxation is a necessary burden in Nigeria
  •  Harvests N17bn from VAIDS in five months

Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The federal government disclosed thursday that it has uncovered 2,000 houses in Abuja whose owners are not paying taxes on them, giving an indication it may soon dispose off the property after securing the necessary legal backing.

It also revealed that a total of N17 billion had been garnered under the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) since its formal commencement on July 1, 2017 , with another N6 billion expected before the end of the year.

The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service ( FIRS), Mr. Tunde Flower, who made the disclosures in Abuja yesterday at a workshop for media professionals hinted that the tax agency identified 2,000 properties in various parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), whose owners neither pay taxes nor file returns on them.

He stated that should the owners of 2,000 property refuse paying commensurate taxes on them, FIRS would seek the consent of the courts to dispose off the houses, noting that after netting off taxes due on them, the balance (if any), will be handed to their owners.

On the N17 billion raked in from VAIDS, the FIRS chief he said the amount came from fewer than 500 firms ,adding that more revenue would roll in in days to come.

Fowler noted that more entities wee desirous of seizing the window of opportunity offered by the tax amnesty to regularise their tax status, adding that the government had engaged consultants who are asking questions for clarification.

“ Less than 500 firms have paid N17 billion and another N6 billion is being expected to be paid before the end of December”. In terms of number, we have not gotten the type of crucial number we envisaged when we gave tax amnesty.

“We have 2,700 companies that applied for it. Now, we are talking about several companies that have come under VAIDS . A lot more needed to be done. Companies are asking questions, talking to consultants. We expect a whole lot more to come in as the programme gets to close,” he said.
The March 31, 2018, deadline given to people and corporate bodies to regularise their tax defaults, he said, is sacrosanct and will not be shifted.

In his paper captioned: ‘VAIDS: A Tax Amnesty in Action,’ the Managing Consultant, Pedabo Associate Limited),Mr. Albert Folorunsho, said VAIDS is not a law but a scheme to compel people to pay tax, and dismissed insinuations that some people could head to court to cripple its implementation.

“ No new tax laws have been put in place .VAIDS is just a scheme to encourage tax payers to comply with existing tax laws. If you are liable to income tax, the rate remains the same. It’s like come and pay before we begin to pursue you. Come voluntarily and pay within nine months.
“If you decide not to come forward, no problem; after the grace period , you have to pay your tax including penalty after expiration of amnesty,” he said.

On the status of churches, mosques and other houses of worship taxes, he said religious houses are exempted from taxes.

However, he said if they had business outfits that generate income, such income is taxable.
“Churches and mosques are exempted from taxes. However, any church or mosque that engages in business , the income from the business is liable to tax. If a clergyman earns income in his capacity as a clergyman, either from the church or other sources, as an individual, you are liable to tax.

“No exception in tax laws for clergymen. This is not for churches or mosques to begin to pay tax on their tithe or offerings. But if religious organisations set up schools for business, it has to pay tax on them,” he said.

On property tax, he explained that, “when property begins to generate income , whether owned by individual or company, the owner will be required to pay tax on the income on the property,” adding that rent collected from a property is a taxable income.

VAIDS, which was launched on June 29, 2017 is a time – limited opportunity for tax payers to regularise their tax status relating to previous tax period.

Designed for a nine-month period, it fully commenced on July 1, 2017.
In exchange for fully and honestly declaring previously undisclosed assets and income, tax payers will benefit from forgiveness of overdue interest and penalties, and the assurance that they will not face criminal prosecution for tax offences or be subject to tax investigation.
VAIDS ushers in an opportunity to increase the nation’s general tax awareness and compliance.

  • share Idea

    Apologies for the Good Yoruba people for my comment below.

    Why is it that majority of the people from that part of the country like saying nice things to the public of which they know that its implementations can never work in Nigeria because of obvious constraints in the country.

    A government that could not have records of its citizens now wants us to believe that they have conducted census on properties in Abuja and found 2000 properties that its owners could not pay appropriate taxes, and they play to confisticate them and sell to SAINTS that would then starts paying taxes.

    VP once told the gullible that APC government would implement Zero-based budgeting framework, and what is currently happening is anything but Zero-Based budgeting. Buhari claimed to have implemented TSA fully and yet, recovered loot totals could not be given to the public or does it mean that recovered loots are not paid through TSA.

    I detest the level of hypocripsy of this government, and the worst part is non of the operators ever tries to apologies when caught pants-down.

    • oyoko

      Is it a rocket science to do? because it did not work before does not mean with serious minded people with good strategy the impossible you think about cannot be achieve.

      • share Idea

        Please can you tell us the good people now, and the strategy been deployed that made you to arrive at your conclusion?

        • oyoko

          with serious minded people like you, i believe the impossible can be achieved. That is just the message i am trying to pass across. We are all good people, but the difference is that when some of us get to that position, we get distracted and loss focus.

          • share Idea

            Thanks for the further clarification. However, I still believe that structure in Nigeria will make ven a Saint not perform when elected.

            We lack structure, and the world we are currntly in, without structure, it would be near impossible to sustain good actions.

            In my view, Nigeria will first agree on terms of governance – i.e subscribing to supremacy of state from other little authorities (Religion, ethnicity and culture). It is either we allow any of those authorities to have overriding control and use its inherent mechanism to govern us or surrender to state with inherent state mechanism. Once, that is done, whoever is in control will know what instrument to rely on. We can keep deceiving ourselves that Nigerian leaders are governing using present consitution when we know that the administrators are overtly ruling based on other little authorities like I mentioned above.

    • PRIME MINISTER

      The property census has been done in Abuja. I can confirm that.
      But their disposal is the wild goose chase. Except they are sold illegally.

  • xto

    Sorry, it’s tax evasion. Tax avoidance is legal while tax evasion is illegal and could lead to seizure of property if proven. Someone’s property cannot be confiscated on the basis of tax avoidance.