The Federal Government has raked in nearly N30 billion through the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), the Chairman, Federal inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Mr. Tunde Fowler, said yesterday.
Speaking in Abuja during the official presentation of VAIDS certificate of declaration to chairmen of states’ tax revenue authority, he said the VAIDS windfall was championed by FIRS which was “responsible for the collection of 90 per cent of the amount, while the states were responsible for the 10 per cent collection balance”.
According to him, the N30 billion so far mopped up from the tax scheme is N3 billion higher than the previous N27 billion recovered a few months ago.
He reminded members of Joint Tax Board (JTB) that the beauty of VAIDS went beyond financial gains but, rather its potential of expanding the tax net. To this end, he said the programme has also boosted the nation’s tax data base from 14 million to 19 million.
Fowler said the N30billion recovered so far VAIDS which is expected to terminate in three weeks time, was from both individuals and corporate bodies.
“Looking beyond the financial returns of the scheme, the impact it has had in promoting voluntary compliance is unquantifiable. One of the outcomes of the scheme, whether directly or indirectly is the growth of the national tax payer database from under 14 million pre 2016 number to over 19 million in 2018, and we are confident that these numbers will translate into a positive growth in the country tax revenue to GDP ratio when the official percentage for 2017 have been released,” he said.
He expressed delight that some states have achieved significant progress in the scheme’s compliance. He said this explained why Executive Chairmen of revenue services of such states were invited to share their experiences.
He admonished State Revenue Chairmen to constantly engage in enlightening tax payers about voluntary tax compliance as a way of building a friendlier tax environment.
Fowler said VAIDS tax certificate presented to states is not the same with tax clearance certificate, saying one can’t replace the other.
Aside from VAIDS, Fowler said in recent times, the incidence of illicit financial flows, aggressive tax avoidance and outright tax evasion have come into the front burner. “The international community recognised the need to present a united front against this trend, which is a limiting factor in the quest towards exploiting the inherent potentials of tax as a viable alternative to sustainable revenue generation, especially for developing and emerging economies, have designed and is implementing a number of initiatives that will leave no hiding place for the tax evader,” Fowler said.