VAIDS: FG offers 29% waiver to tax offenders

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  • Records N397bn deficit in May

The federal government has said tax offenders stand to enjoy 29 per cent waiver on overdue taxes if they take advantage of the recently-launched Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).

Mr. Abiodun Aina, Special Adviser to the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja.

He said the VAIDS programme aimed to reduce tax payers liability, improve tax compliance and create more awareness on the statutory function of every working citizen to pay tax.

“Usually tax offenders when caught are liable to pay their tax plus 10 per cent of the total amount as penalty fee and 19 per cent as interest making a total of 29 per cent.

“But if they take advantage of the VAIDS programme, they stand to save 29 per cent on interest and penalty on taxes they owe.

“The VAIDS programme offers a lot of benefit to tax offenders.

“They will no longer pay interest, they will not pay penalty, they will no longer be investigated and they will not be subjected to regular audit. They will also not face criminal prosecution.

“When you fail to pay taxes, you are liable to criminal prosecution because it’s a criminal offence. But with VAIDS, you won’t be prosecuted for those criminal offenses,” he said.

Aina said the VAIDS Secreteriat had begun to receive people coming to voluntarily pay their taxes.

He, however, could not say how many people have already come forward, in the month since the VAIDS programme was launched by the acting president.

In the meantime, the Federal Government recorded N397 billion deficit in May due to  slowdown in economic activities, which occasioned 48 per cent  shortfall in federally  collected revenue  for the month.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, disclosed this in its economic report for May released weekend.

The report, among other things, revealed that federally collected revenue for the month was 48 per cent lower than the budgeted estimate for the month and 13.4 per cent lower than what was recorded in the previous month.

This, according to the apex bank, was due to slowdown in economic activities, which occasioned 21.5 per cent and 2.4 per cent decline in oil revenue and non-oil revenue respectively during the month.

The report stated: “The estimated Federal Government retained revenue for the month of May 2017, at N185.58 billion, was below the monthly budget estimate of N449.60 billion by 58.7 per cent. It was also lower than the preceding month’s receipt of N221.48 by 16.2 per cent.

“The estimated total expenditure of the Federal Government, at N583.32 billion, fell short of the 2017 provisional monthly budget estimate by 9.7 per cent.

“It, however, rose above the level in April 2017 by 3.0 per cent. Recurrent and capital expenditure accounted for 61.0 per cent and 34.3 per cent, respectively, while transfers accounted for the balance of 4.7 per cent of the total expenditure.”

“Overall, the fiscal operations of the Federal Government resulted in an estimated deficit of N397.74 billion, compared with the 2017 provisional monthly budget deficit of N196.40 billion.

“Federally-collected revenue (gross) in May 2017 was estimated at N458.42 billion. This was below the monthly budget estimate of N894.76 billion by 48.8 per cent. It was also lower than the receipt in April 2017 by 13.4 per cent. The fall relative to the monthly budget estimate was attributed, largely, to the short fall in both oil and non-oil revenue components

“Gross oil receipts, at N238.09 billion or 51.9 per cent of total  revenue, was lower than the monthly budget estimate of N449.62 billion by 47.0 per cent. It was also below the April collection of N303.43 billion by 21.5 per cent. The decline in oil revenue relative to the monthly budget estimate was attributed to the short fall in revenue from crude-oil and gas exports and PPT/Royalties

“At N220.33 billion or 48.1 per cent of total revenue, non-oil revenue was below the monthly budget estimate of N445.14 billion by 50.5 per cent. It was also below the April collection of N225.71 by 2.4 per cent. The poor performance relative to the budget was due to the effect of the slowdown in general economic activities which impacted negatively on most of the components of the non-oil revenue.”

Citizen with additional report from Vanguard

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