Proceeds from VAIDS Hit N30bn

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  •  National tax day underway

By Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The federal government disclosed on Wednesday that proceeds from the tax amnesty–Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme ( VAIDS) rallied to about N30 billion, less than three weeks to the end of the programme.
The Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service ( FIRS), Mr. Tunde Fowler, also confirmed that a greater impact of the scheme was the five million addition to the tax data base from 14 million to 19 million.

VAIDS, originally designed to last between July 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018, offers taxpayers a grace period to regularise their tax statuses.
On expiration of the initial nine months window March 31, VAIDS was granted a three-month extension by President Muhammadu Buhari with June 30, 2018 as the new deadline.
Speaking in Abuja while declaring open the presentation of VAIDS certificates of declaration to chairmen of states’ tax revenue authorities, Fowler said the N30 billion raked in so far came from both individual and corporate establishments.
Giving further insight, he stated that while the FIRS was responsible for the collection of 90 per cent of the sum, the states accounted for 10 per cent collection.
Fowler told members of the Joint Tax Board (JTB) that the beauty of VAIDS transcended financial gains but rather its potential of expanding the tax net.
“Looking beyond the financial returns of the scheme, the impact it has had in promoting voluntary compliance is unquantifiable. One of the outcomes of the scheme, whether directly or indirectly is the growth of the national taxpayer database from under 14 million pre 2016 number to over 19 million in 2018, and we are confident that these numbers will translate into a positive growth in the country tax revenue-to-GDP ratio when the official percentage for 2017 has been released,” he said.
According to him, some states had achieved significant progress in the VAIDS compliance, adding that this informed the invitation of the executive chairmen of revenue authorities of such states.
He said: “We believe that this aspect of the workshop will facilitate the exchange of ideas which we are confident will assist all of us in utilising the remaining period that is provided by the scheme.
“VAIDS goes beyond just taking advantage of immediate gains. In recent time, the incidence of illicit financial flows, aggressive tax avoidance and outright tax evasion have come into the front burner.
“The international community, recognising the need to present a united front against this trend, which is a limiting factor in the quest towards exploiting the inherent potential of tax as a viable alternative to sustainable revenue generation, especially for developing and emerging economies, has designed and is implementing a number of initiatives that will leave no hiding place for the tax evader.”
Fowler urged state revenue chairmen to constantly engage in enlightening taxpayers about voluntary tax compliance as a way of building a friendlier tax environment.
“As part of activities lined up to ensure increased awareness on the scheme in particular and tax compliance in general, staff of JTB secretariat in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance will take part in every tax Thursday sensitisation exercises in the states until the end of the scheme commencing from 14th June, 2018.
“It may also interest us to know that the National Tax Policy Implementation Committee is proposing a national tax day, a special day which is to be set aside every year for awareness and sensitisation on tax related matters,” he said.
Fowler stated that VAIDS tax certificates presented to states was not the same with tax clearance certificate, adding that one cannot replace the other.