Nigerians who have investments, businesses or incomes abroad will soon start paying their taxes on them when due as the federal government intensifies its drive to improve revenues.
The chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, gave the indication on Wednesday after a session with the Federal Executive Council (FEC). Fowler told State House correspondents that he attended the FEC meeting with the minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, to ratify an automatic exchange of information with other countries.
He explained that the information exchange will enable the FIRS to track the income of Nigerians with offshore investments and incomes.
While explaining what the information exchange entailed, he said, “basically what this means is that Nigeria as a country exchanges financial information with other member countries which hopefully should improve our revenues and also ensure that all Nigerians that have investments or businesses or incomes abroad will pay their taxes as and when due.”
The FIRS boss also negated cases of multiple taxation as he said there was no such case in the country.
“Let me say once again that we do not really have a situation of multiple taxation. You only have multiple taxation when you pay the same tax to different tiers of government. What we have found out is that a lot of people categorise any payment to government as a tax. For example if you receive fine, a penalty, they call it a tax. If you pay for the parking space, they call it a tax. Those are the things you refer to as user charges and not taxes.”
He added that those who did not take advantage of the grace given by the Voluntary Assets Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) policy, which expired at the end of June, would be made to pay their appropriate taxes with interests and penalties.
“The update is that it expired June 30. And anyone who has not come forth by now, we shall use all the legal means to make sure that we bring them to book and make sure that they pay the appropriate tax with interests and penalties,” Fowler said.
President Muhammadu Buhari approved the extension of the VAIDS policy to June 30, 2018.
The amnesty for tax evader, was extended from March 31 by President Buhari based on the appeals of professional bodies and individual taxpayers, the Presidency said in a statement.