Tax: Fed govt secretly investigates high-profile Nigerians - News and More

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Friday 30 June 2017

Tax: Fed govt secretly investigates high-profile Nigerians

The Federal Government has secretly hired an international private investigator to conduct detailed investigations and trace assets belonging to Nigerians across the world for the purpose of determining their tax liabilities.

This was revealed in Abuja, on Thursday as Acting President Yemi Osinbajo launched the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), which provided a nine-month amnesty period for citizens to make restitution over undeclared and outstanding liabilities.
Osinbajo said “for over 15 months, a team of competent professionals within the Federal Ministry of Finance had been quietly gathering information to understand the degree of tax compliance.
“The exercise had been rigorous and entailed gathering of data from a wide range of sources, including bank verification numbers (BVN); engagement of one of the world’s leading private investigation firms to a retainership to conduct detailed investigations and trade assets, while Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) is also helping with the investigations.
“In addition, government is reviewing ownership of prime properties within Nigeria; land allocation and land ownership in selected high value areas; major payments made by Federal Government; foreign exchange allocation returns.”
Osinbajo also disclosed that Federal Government was working with foreign governments; foreign account tax compliance Act (FATCA) information; review of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) records; review of Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) share ownership records and review of private jet and yatch ownership information.
According to him, “despite having some of Africa’s wealthiest people whose lifestyles are a source of envy around the world, only 218 Nigerians pay N20 million as tax each annually and all of them live in Lagos.
He noted that of the 14 million Nigerians currently on the tax register, almost 96 per cent were salary earners in formal sector, whose taxes were deducted from source, while records from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that 70 million Nigerians were economically active and should be paying tax.

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