Various tax professionals, yesterday, commended the Federal Government for introducing the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS). The commendations were delivered in Abuja during a one-day training workshop for professionals advising clients on VAIDS. The workshop, which held at NICON Luxury Hotel, was organised by the VAIDS office in the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Prominent among those in attendance were Mr. Tunde Fowler, Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Chief Cyril Ede, President, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) and Dr. Bode Oyetunde, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Finance and Fiscal Policy. The workshop featured papers presented by various tax professionals among whom were Professor Abiola Sani, professor of tax law at the University of Lagos; Mr. Yomi Olugbenro, Lead Partner, Tax and Regulatory Services, Deloitte; Mr. Peter Ukonu of Financial Derivatives and Mr. Ayo Salami, Tax Partner, KPMG.
Professor Salami advised tax professionals like lawyers and accountants to encourage their clients to truthfully declare their liabilities during the window offered by VAIDS. He noted that many lawyers and accountants themselves are not registered for Value Added Tax. Professor Salami added that without an intervention like VAIDS, the country’s task environment would be dormant, as it provides opportunity to increase tax compliance.
In his paper, Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI): Implications for Nigeria, Mr. Olagbenro noted that the AEOI provides Nigeria with the opportunity for collaboration with foreign tax authorities to arrest tax avoidance. Mr. Ukonu, who presented a paper on data mining, said taxpayer data harmonisation into a single database from agency-wide intelligence will ease the tracking of income, physical and liquid assets. On his part, Mr. Salami urged professionals to guide their clients correctly to provide full, frank and verifiable information when declaring for VAIDS.
The scheme provides a time-limited opportunity for individuals and corporate entities with tax liabilities dating back to 2010 to regularize their tax status by declaring and spreading payments over a maximum three-year period.