…Reviews tax profiles of coys
From Uche Usim, Abuja
As the battle to get more Nigerians into the tax net gets fiercer, the Federal Government at the weekend said it had recruited and trained about 2,190 Community Tax Liaison Officers (CTLOs) under the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), to ensure the programme succeeds.
Out this figure, 1,710 CTLOs have been deployed to 33 states of the country to harvest tax proceeds from taxable Nigerians who hitherto evaded taxes.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, who revealed this in a workshop on VAIDS held in Lagos, also confirmed the review of the tax profiles of companies that received major payments from the Federal Government in the last five years.
She said CTLOs were also expected 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, Nassarawa, Niger, Ogun and Oyo, among others.
Adeosun asserted that there was no hiding place for tax evaders residing in Nigeria or abroad, noting that the Federal Government had put in place a data mining mechanism to fish them out.
The Minister said, “The unique cooperation between the various arms of 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 income.
“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 utilised. For instance, we have reviewed all companies that received major payments from the Federal Government in the last 5 years and found that even those who made money from 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 of the importers, but the discovery was worrisome as “the variance was disturbingly wide”.
“On personal income taxes, we reviewed property and company ownership as well as registration of high value assets and foreign exchange allocations, which gives us a sense of the lifestyles of the persons….”