The review is part of measures aimed at identifying those that have yet to take advantage of the tax amnesty offered under the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme.
The government also said it had recruited and trained 2,190 community tax liaison officers under the VAIDS.
The Minister confirmed these in Lagos at a workshop organised by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Inland Revenue Service and Joint Tax Board for lawyers, accountants and other professionals advising clients on participation in the VAIDS.
The VAIDS, an initiative of the Finance ministry, in collaboration with the states’ tax authorities, provides tax defaulters with a nine-month opportunity to voluntarily and truthfully declare previously untaxed assets and incomes.
The tax amnesty period is expected to lapse on March 31, 2018.
Adeosun stated that a total of 1,710 CTLOs had been deployed in 33 states, out of the 2,190 recruited and trained to raise awareness about the scheme and taxation in general.
The CTLOs are currently operating in Adamawa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Kaduna, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun and Oyo states, among others.
She stated, “The unique cooperation between the Federal Government, state governments and foreign governments has provided an unprecedented level of data that allows the Nigerian government to profile taxpayers accurately and identify those whose lifestyle and assets are not consistent with their declared incomes.
“A lot of data mining is going on daily, both locally and internationally, on property ownership and other items. Data is an extremely powerful tool that is now being utilized.
“For instance, we have reviewed all companies that received major payments from the Federal Government in the last five years and found that even those who made money from the government under-declared.”
The minister further noted that the government’s tax compliance team had looked at import records and compared the value of goods imported to the tax declarations by the importers, but the discovery was worrisome as “the variance was disturbingly wide.”
The minister called on professionals to advise their clients to uphold honesty in the declaration of their assets and incomes as well as the regularization of their tax status.
The Lead Partner, Tax and Regulatory Services, Deloitte, Mr. Yomi Olugbenro, noted that tax avoidance, especially for those with incomes and assets outside Nigeria, had been made more difficult with the VAIDS.
According to him, the range of international instruments, which Nigeria is part of, facilitates the sharing of information among tax authorities even without request.
“The Automatic Exchange of Information, which kicks in on January 1, 2018, is one of such tools in the hands of tax authorities across jurisdictions,” he added.
In a paper presented at the workshop, Mr. Peter Ukonu of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, warned that the availability of data from various sources would make it difficult for tax dodgers to evade the attention of tax authorities.
“Data have always been available, but not as integrated as they now are.” Ukonu said,
He noted that cooperation among government agencies and tax authorities at federal and state levels had ensured a profusion of data on incomes and assets, which would be matched with lifestyle to yield a full picture of the tax status of an individual or corporate entity.