Executive Secretary of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), Oseni Salawe Elamah, has said that state governments will reap huge benefits from the implementation of Voluntary Assets and Income (VAIDS), an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Speaking in Abuja last weekend, Elamah explained that VAIDS, was conceived to ensure that individuals and corporate entities are given a time-limited opportunity to voluntarily declare their income and assets as basis for tax assessment. This, he said will greatly benefit all tax authorities, especially at the state level. He stated: “Whatever taxes that have not been paid previously on assets and income are assessed and paid in order to avoid legal actions and then penalties and interest will also be waived. The taxable entities or individuals reside in states and the tax authorities have the responsibility to subject them to tax payment. “We have information on Nigerians, who have acquired a lot of assets and incomes that are not known to the tax authorities. This window provides an opportunity for us to have an exchange of information. Based on the information, the data will be used to assess both corporate and individuals.”
Speaking further, Elamah noted, “Data mining is extremely important. States in Nigeria have different levels of development. So while it is easy for a Lagos State or River State or Kano State to collect data, it is not same for some other states. I believe that with what is being done at the Federal Inland Revenue Service and what has already succeeded the Lagos State Inland Revenue Service (LIRS) when the current JTB Chairman, Mr. Tunde Fowler, was the Executive Chairman of the LIRS, is to have tax enlightenment and enforcement teams.
“If every state can replicate that, it will help in mining information. In Lagos for instance, It is not only for collecting taxes. It is also to meet the stakeholders in their various locations to obtain data and information. These data were fed back into the system and this gave Lagos huge number of taxpayers. The number of taxpayers in the whole of the country is not up to 50 per cent of what you have in Lagos. So we have to do a lot of work and that is the reason we are trying as much as possible to carry every of the state revenue authority along and give them the necessary tools and assistance to sensitize their people and be able to collect this data,” Elamah further explained.
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