Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Sunday identified the regular payment of taxes by Nigerians as fundamental to the growth and development of the economy.
Adeosun, according to a statement by her Media Adviser, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde, said if the economy was to record tremendous growth, the low level of tax compliance by Nigerians must be addressed.
She said the Federal Government was mindful of this and that was why it provided an amnesty window for tax defaulters to come forward to settle their outstanding tax obligations without being prosecuted.
The minister stated that the amnesty programme, being implemented through the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme, would end by March 31 this year.
The VAIDS, which commenced on July 1, 2017, provides an opportunity for taxpayers to voluntarily and truthfully declare their assets and incomes before the deadline.
The scheme embraces all federal and state taxes such as Companies Income Tax, Personal Income Tax, Petroleum Profits Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Stamp Duties, Tertiary Education Tax, Technology Tax, tenement rates and property taxes.
It also covers all back taxes for the last six years in line with the statutory periods of limitation under the relevant tax statutes.
Adeosun said, “Payment of taxes is a fundamental requirement for our growth story. Nigeria has a very poor scorecard in tax payment. When oil came, we abandoned the old systems of tax collection that provided most of our infrastructure since the colonial days.
“Currently, we have just 14 million taxpayers out of 70 million who are economically active. So, many people who should be paying are not paying anything. It is the development of taxes that will help the states and the Federal Government to achieve their true potential.”
She noted that predictable tax revenue inflow would lead to more investment by the federal and state governments in infrastructure and job and wealth creation across the nation.
She advised taxpayers to take advantage of the tax amnesty opportunity to regularise their tax profiles, adding that defaulters would be subjected to investigation as well as made to face criminal prosecution.
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