VAIDS: FG rakes in N17b from tax evaders, says Fowler

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File Photo of a church

FIRS boss, Babatunde Fowler, disclosed this at a media workshop on VAIDS in Abuja on Thursday.

The federal government has realized a total of N17 billion from tax evaders since the launch of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).

Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler made this disclosure at a media sensitization for workshop on VAIDS on Thursday, December 7, 2017, in Abuja.

Fowler noted that federal government is expecting another N6 billion before the end of December, 2017.

The FIRS boss also stated that the FIRS had also sealed off over 2,000 properties in the Abuja over failure to to file annual tax returns.

“Less than 500 firms have paid N17 billion and another N6 billion is being expected to be paid before the end of December,” Fowler stated.

“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 .

"Since VAIDS was launched, we have seen over 2000 properties in Abuja that have ownership of corporate organizations that have not filed any tax, have not paid any tax.

“And that is why we gave them notice that we will shortly be going to court, we will be seizing those properties and selling those properties to make up for the outstanding tax and if there is any change, we will refund the change to them," he said.

Fowler urged people and corporate bodies to regularize their taxes before the March 31, 2018 deadline.

He noted that VAIDS is not a witch-hunting tool of the federal government against political opponents.

ALSO READ: VAIDS begins data collection on Nigerians' income, assets

Delivering his paper entitled: ‘VAIDS: A Tax Amnesty in Action,’ the managing consultant, Pedabo Associate Limited, Albert Folorunsho emphasized that VAIDS is not a law but a scheme to compel people to pay tax.

He maintained that although religious bodies are not required by law to pay tax, churches and mosques who engage in business are liable to tax.

“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, Folorunsho said “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.

Launched on Thursday, 29, 2017, VAIDS is a limited time or opportunity for tax payers to regularise their tax status.

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