Osinbajo signs executive order on voluntary asset, income declaration

Osinbajo signs executive order on voluntary asset, income declaration
June 29 23:30 2017

Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday signed an Executive Order to support the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) introduced by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Speaking at the official launch of VAIDS at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja, Osinbajo said the new initiative is targeted at increasing tax awareness and compliance.

He said the initiative also grants tax payers a time-limited opportunity to regularise their tax status without penalty.

Osinbajo also declared every Thursday “tax Thursday” to enable the FIRS and state governments organise sensitisation events that would raise the level of awareness of the tax system for massive enrolment of tax payers.

He said government sets a target of at least four million new tax payers to be enrolled in order to increase the level of payment amongst the 14 million already registered tax payers.

Osinbajo explained that the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme would be jointly executed by federal and state governments in order to ensure that all Nigerian citizens and companies pay their taxes wherever their income is earned, wherever they reside and no matter how rich they are.

He said progress has been made in taxing those in paid employment, but expressed concern that high net worth Nigerians, self employed persons, professionals and companies evade full tax payments due to the inability of tax authorities to access their true income.

He said: “According to FIRS, the total number of tax payers in Nigeria is just 14 million and 96 per cent of this number have their taxes deducted at source from their under the PAYE system while just four per cent  comply under direct

assessment.

“So, a vast majority of Nigerians do not pay taxes and this is at variance with our economy as we are estimating that almost 70 million Nigerians are economically active. This means that just 20 percent of people involved in any form of business or the other are registered and paying taxes.

“Despite having some of Africa’s wealthiest people whose lifestyles are the subject of global discussion only 214 Nigerians pay taxes of N20 million or more each year. A personal tax of N20 million implies an income of N80 Million a year, I am not looking at anyone in particular (in the hall).

“That group of 214 excludes many names and of course you know that there are many people who can pay way over N20 million. Another worrying observation is that the 214 who of course shall remain nameless are all based in Lagos State.

“There is another figure that talks about those paying over N10 million and that will come to about 914 or thereabout and of that number all except two are from Lagos and the other two are from Ogun State my state.”

To ensure compliance, the Acting President said government has recruited 7500 Community Tax Liaison Officers who would go into every community to educate people on the tax system and the duty it imposes on every economically active citizen.