The Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) has deployed over 700 graduates as Community Tax Liaison Officers(CTLOs) to nine states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The CTLOs have been handed the responsibility of creating awareness about the VAIDS scheme and taxation in general. A statement by the VAIDS office revealed that the CTLOs, posted to their various states of origin, will carry out the assignment in said in Lagos, Ogun, Enugu, Edo, Cross River, Delta, Oyo, Kaduna and Nassarawa states as well as the Federal Capital Territory. The CTLOs were deployed after undergoing an intensive week-long training on taxation and customer service in Abuja.
The statement also disclosed that more CTLOs will, over the coming weeks, be deployed to Kwara, Niger and Adamawa states, the other states to follow.
The scheme expected to create a total of 7,500 opportunities for Nigerians as CTLOs through the N-Power scheme of the Federal Government
“They (CTLOs) will be on the streets, markets, malls public places and visit offices,” the statement said.
The VAIDS scheme, a tax amnesty initiative of the Federal Ministry of Finance in collaboration with state revenue agencies, was launched on 29 June via an Executive Order signed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. It was conceived to provide solutions almost every defect of the nation’s tax system, including the tepid attitude to taxation.
VAIDS is specifically targeted at taxpayers, who have failed to fully declare their taxable income and assets or have not been paying the tax due. It is also a at all aimed at those who are underpaying or under-remitting; those under a process of tax audit or investigations by tax authorities or are engaged in tax disputes with tax bodies, but are prepared to settle the disputes out of court.
The scheme, which aims to cast the country’s tax net wider, offers confidentiality as well as waiver of the interests and penalties to those who had underdeclared or never declared previously earned incomes and acquired assets. It equally offers tax defaulters the option of spreading payment of outstanding liabilities over a maximum period of three years as may be agreed with the relevant tax authority.
A projected revenue of $1billion is expected to be generated through VAIDS. The scheme is expected to bring about an appreciable jump in the country’s tax-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio from the meagre 6 per cent it currently is to a more respectable 20 per cent by 2020.
VAIDS has been lauded by many tax experts, who described the scheme as the last chance for tax defaulters to regularize their tax status and avoid escape stern penalties, including prosecution and payment of penalties for undeclared income and assets. The scheme is expected to benefit from a variety of information sharing agreements among countries and other international instruments, including the Standard Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) to uncover previously concealed assets and revenue sources.