The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), said it collected N17 billion from tax evaders through the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) between June and December.
The Chairman of the Service, Mr Babatunde Fowler disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at a public enlightenment workshop on VAIDS organised by the Federal Ministry of Finance and FIRS.
He said that the scheme encouraged voluntary disclosure of previously undisclosed assets and income for the purpose of payment of all outstanding tax liabilities to boost revenue collection.
“Another N6 billion is expected to be paid before the end of December. Also, 50 million dollars have been declared by individuals with properties and investment overseas, so VAIDs is also providing foreign exchange for the country.
“We also have many companies and individuals that have already come forward, asking questions on how they can key into the scheme.
“All this will help improve the low tax ratio from six per cent to 15 per cent by 2020 and curb the use of tax havens for illicit fund flow and tax avoidance,” he said.
Fowler reiterated that the VAIDs programme was applicable to Personal Income Tax, Value Added Tax, Company Income Tax, Stamp Duties, Rental income and Tertiary Education Tax.
He urged tax evaders to come and voluntarily declare their tax before the grace period elapses because afterwards, there would be grave consequences for anyone who does not obey the tax laws of the country.
The FIRS boss said also that there was no hiding place for those who hide their wealth overseas as the country had signed agreements with several developed countries like United Kingdom to get the names of Nigerians with properties and investment there.
“The VAIDs programme offers a grace period from July 1, to March 31, 2018, for tax evaders to voluntarily pay back to government what they owe.
“In exchange for full and honest declaration, the government promises to waive penalties that should have been levied and also waive the interest that should have been paid on overdue taxes.
“Also, those who declare honestly will not be subjected to any investigation or tax audit after the grace period.
“Through the programme, government intends to increase the country’s tax to Gross Domestic Product from 6 per cent to 30 per cent, and tax base from 14 million to 17 million in two years.