The Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler says with the introduction of Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), no Nigerian can evade tax payment. Fowler said this at the 138th Quarterly Meeting of the Joint Tax Board (JTB) on Monday in Abuja.
The theme of the meeting was “Administering Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) – 2017 in Nigeria: The role of stakeholders.’’ Fowler, also the Chairman of JTB said every Nigerian would be held accountable with the introduction of the new scheme. He said that the so called “untouchable citizens’’ were willing to pay tax without forcing them under the scheme. According to him, the board has received positive response so far on the scheme. To improve tax compliance, the Federal Government said tax offenders stand to enjoy 29 per cent waiver on overdue taxes if they take advantage of VAIDS. The VAIDS programme is aimed at reducing tax payers’ liability and creates more awareness on the statutory function of every working citizen to pay tax.
The scheme which started July 1, offers a window for those who, before now, have not complied with extant tax regulations to remedy their positions by providing them limited amnesty to enable voluntary declaration and payment of liabilities. Fowler said the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) adopted between the FIRS and State Internal Revenue Service including that of VAIDS had been working very well. “From the point of FIRS, all the money generated is shared between the three tiers of government; the collaboration between states and FIRS is improving.
“I hope the collaboration will continue to get better,’’ he said. Fowler said that the JTB meeting had improved the collaboration between private and public sector. He said the meeting would focus on the review of VAIDS and actions that would be taken after the implementation of the scheme. “I will also want to thank the stakeholders for all the activities and the Acting President who is in the fore front of the tax drive.’’
The meeting witnessed the handing over of the outgoing Executive Secretary and Incoming one. The new Executive Secretary, Mr Oseni Elamah pledged to serve the body and to take it to a greater height. “I pledge to serve you as a body and to also support each of you individually in your various capacities toward the realisation of Joint Tax Board in creating a tax friendly environment. “I will also support you in fulfilling your mandate to optimise revenue for the various tiers of government,’’ Elamah said. Elamah is the immediate past Chairman of Edo State Internal Revenue Service.
Also speaking, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, the outgoing Executive Secretary of JTB urged the new official to take the board to greater height. Abubakar, who served for seven years called on the members of the board to support Elamah to enable him succeed. No fewer than 90 participants from JTB, FIRS, State Internal Revenue Service and representatives of Nigeria Governor’s Forum attended the meeting.