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We Have Resources To Prosecute Tax Debtors After VAIDS –Fowler

CHIMA AKWAJA,

The chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, has warned individuals and corporate entities, who refuse to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), that the service has earmarked a bigger sum of money for legal fees in its 2018 budget. Disclosing this in a recent interview, Fowler explained that those under the impression that the government will be fazed by an avalanche of litigations that may arise at the closure of the VAIDS window on 31 March are mistaken.

He also warned that the deadline will not be extended, as many are hoping. He stated that apart from the naming and shaming of tax debtors as well as closure of business premises in the case of companies, those who fail to declare will face prosecution if necessary. “If it takes that (prosecution), we have increased our legal fees in our 2018 Budget. Every tax defaulter will be prosecuted. People say we should use the 80-20 principle, meaning that we focus on those that give us 80 per cent of their taxes,” Fowler said.

The FIRS chairman has also warned that the law demands full compliance and nothing less. “You can say that you are a big taxpayer and you have paid N1 billion and because you have paid N1billion, we should leave N500million you are owing. Meanwhile, somebody who paid N100,000 paid 100 per cent of his tax liabilities, meaning he is hundred per cent compliant. The organisation that paid N1billion and still has N500million left is only 50 per cent compliant. So, what we look at as tax administrators, is the level of compliance,” said Fowler.



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