The Federal Government is set to confiscate 2,000 properties in the Federal Capital Territory belonging to some firms following their failure to disclose their assets under the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme.
The Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, disclosed that the properties had been identified, adding that the FIRS planned to secure court orders to sell them off.
“We will sell off the 2,000 properties and give the companies the change after deducting what belong to the government as tax,” he said at a media workshop on VAIDS held by the FIRS on Thursday in Abuja.
Fowler noted that the defaulting companies would also be penalised for withholding the tax due to the government, stating that about N17bn had been paid by 10 firms since the introduction of VAIDS in July this year.
He stated that many more corporate organisations were expected to comply with VAIDS before the nine months’ grace period expires in March next year.
The FIRS chairman explained that his agency was currently reviewing all properties owned by corporate organisations in the country with a view to capturing them in the tax net and getting their owners to pay the mandatory tax on them.
He called on individuals and organisations to take advantage of the VAIDS and voluntarily declare their assets and income, warning that the FIRS would go after defaulters after March, 2018.
The Head, Information and Communication Technology, FIRS, Efe Omorodion, in his presentation titled, ‘VAIDS: The role of data mining – what the authority now knows’, said data harmonisation to identify potential taxpayers was ongoing between various government agencies, including the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs, National Identity Management Commission, Federal Road Safety Corps and others.
He stated that the process of capturing potential taxpayers involved identifying them through their assets and income, processing their information and issuing a tax bill after which the taxpayers are brought into the tax net.
“The tax authorities have enough data on potential taxpayers. Nigeria is one of the countries that have signed into the Automatic Exchange of Information which will provide information on asset and income on demand across the borders on any individual or corporate organisations,” Omorodion added.
He explained that the agreement with the AEOI countries allows the exchange of information between tax authorities of different nations about financial accounts and investments to help stop tax evasion.