Nigerians lose assets trying to conceal them from authorities - says Finance minister
Finance Minister has said many Nigerians have lost assets while trying to conceal them from authorities when asked to declare their assets or income.
Adeosun made this known while speaking on the newly launched Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).
She said" “Many Nigerians have lost assets in the course of trying to conceal them from the authorities. Such losses typically occur in the event of death or an urgent need to liquidate assets when required documentation and proof of ownership cannot be provided.
"The global focus on illicit financial flows is such that global regulations will only become tighter with time, thus this opportunity to regularise ownership of assets should be seized as proper declaration allows assets to be legally and formally held by the true owner.
“Those taking advantage of the Scheme by declaring honestly and fully will be free from prosecution and will qualify for forgiveness of penalties and interest”.
Explaining in details what the scheme is all about, Adeosun said the scheme is a credible platform put in place for defaulting Nigerian taxpayers to work out a flexible way to pay their outstanding tax liabilities due from them relating to the last six relevant tax years, regularize their tax transactions and obtain genuine tax clearance certificate for all the relevant years without fear of criminal prosecution for tax offences and with the benefit of forgiveness of interest and penalties.
Speaking further, Adeosun said: “The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme is specifically targeted at taxpayers who have not been fully declaring their taxable income/assets; have not been paying the tax due at all; have been underpaying or under remitting; are under a process of tax audits or investigations with the Relevant Tax Authority; are engaged in tax disputes with the Relevant Tax Authority but are prepared to settle the tax dispute out of court; are new taxpayers who are yet to register with the tax authorities; and are existing registered taxpayers who have new disclosures to make.
“It does not matter whether the relevant tax default arose from undeclared assets within or outside the country. If tax should have been paid, the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme is providing a once in a lifetime opportunity to declare the tax outstanding and resolve it definitively”.
The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme was recently launched by the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja.
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