Tax defaulters in Nigeria, especially among high-income earners, may be in for serious trouble as the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Joint Tax Board (JTB) have decided to share data in order to get them pay appropriate taxes.
The Executive Chairman, FIRS and JTB, Tunde Fowler announced this in Abuja during the 138th meeting of the Joint Tax Board – which comprises representatives of the FIRS, state boards of internal revenue, FRSC, Customs, and Attorney General of the Federation.
According to Fowler, 12 states have also signed a memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Government under the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS). He also said that there are no untouchables as regards the implementation of VAIDS.
Fowler explained that the integration of data among the states between the FIRS and the JTB would help identify high net worth individuals, track their tax status, improve compliance, and help data sharing amongst states.
According to him, the Federal Government has demonstrated an uncommon political will to entrench tax compliance in the country, saying issues of taxation are taking a centre stage in the country.
He said: “Speaking on behalf of the FIRS and the JTB, I want to assure you that we have received the blessing and political will of Mr. President, the Acting President to implement VAIDS.
“The executive is behind us, the senate, the house of representatives, are behind us and the judiciary is behind us. The government is behind us. It is now left for us to perform our duties in the right and best way.
“A lot of special things are happening to the country. We are changing the financial profile of the country and of course, taxation is in the forefront. I can’t recall any time in the past when we had had such integration and cooperation. Our vision is to ensure that the governments, at all levels have enough resources to provide essential facilities to everyone.” Fowler said.
This new development means that individuals will no longer be able to evade tax, as their names will be in either of the tax bases. Defaulters would be made to pay up tax arrears, while state governments can also go after taxes on assets owned by these individuals within their jurisdiction.