As the grace period for tax evaders to get on the right side of the law under the Voluntary Assets and Incomes Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) ended, Fidelity Bank Plc, in partnership with Andersen Tax Nigeria has embarked on a sensitisation programme aimed at enlightening the bank’s customers, including its High Net worth Individual (HNIs) clientele on changing trends in Nigeria’s tax landscape.
The Bank’s Divisional Head, Private Banking, Mrs. Chioma Nwankwo, who spoke at a recent tax advisory forum organised by Fidelity Bank said it was designed specifically to educate customers on the current tax system and its attendant impact on their businesses and financial wellbeing.
“In view of the fast approaching federal government’s Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) deadline and the lack of preparedness of taxable Nigerian citizens, Fidelity decided to partner with Andersen Tax to enlighten customers on what is taxable and other related tax issues, including consequences of missing the deadline as stipulated by government”, said Nwankwo.
He also pointed out that the Bank organised two streams for customers from branches within the Lagos and South-West region, while another session was held exclusively for the Bank’s HNIs.
Speaking at the Forum, senior manager, Private Clients/Family Wealth, Andersen Tax, Mr. Israel Koledowo advised customers to conduct tax health checks to ascertain their financial status and minimise potential risks associated with noncompliance with tax requirements. While restating the federal government’s resolve to clamp down on tax offenders, Koledowo however pointed out that tax health checks will assist the customers understand inherent gaps in tax compliance.
He urged customers with irregularities in tax compliance to take advantage of government’s VAIDS before the expiration of the deadline.
VAIDS is a time-limited opportunity for taxpayers to regularize their tax status relating to previous tax periods. In exchange for fully and honestly declaring previously undisclosed assets and income, tax payers will benefit from forgiveness of overdue interest and penalties, and the assurance that they will not face criminal prosecution for tax offences or be subject to tax investigations. VAIDS ushers in an opportunity to increase the nation’s general tax awareness and compliance.
Meanwhile, the chief executive officer, Polysonic Nigeria Limited, Mr. Paulinus Ozonnagbo was full of praise for Fidelity Bank’s tax initiative. “This forum is quite timely and very commendable. It is a clear indication that the Bank truly values its customers because many entrepreneurs and businessmen in the country do not understand tax laws and associated matters,” he stated.