Nigeria’s Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo  on Thursday gave tax payers a nine month ultimatum to pay up their taxes or  face criminal prosecution.
He gave the order at the inauguration of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDs) in Abuja.
Osinbajo said that those who failed to take advantage of the nine months grace period would face criminal investigation and if found guilty may face up to five-years jail term.
According to him, the VAIDs is targeted at taxpayers who had not declared their taxable incomes and assets, those who had been underpaying or under remitting as well as those who don’t pay at all.
Osinbajo disclosed that the scheme will run from July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018.
In his explanations he said all federal and state taxes such as companies’ income tax, personal income tax, petroleum profit tax, capital gains tax, stamp duties and tertiary education tax would be covered.
“It will be supported by an executive order, which I will sign into law today to offer a once in a life time opportunity to those in default to regularise their tax affairs.
“In exchange for full and honest declaration, tax evaders will receive immunity from prosecution, forgiveness of penalty and interest that is due on unpaid taxes.
“They will also get the full assurance that all information provided will remain confidential.
“In addition, participants in the scheme will not be selected for audit investigation for the period.
“We understand that some tax payers may have problems raising cash and for that reason, we have built in a system that will allow those owing to pay over a period of time.’’
He said that the government would immediately commence a nationwide sensitisation of Nigerians on the scheme and tax in general to ensure compliance.
“To this end, we have agreed that every Thursday starting from today, and for the next one year will be declared Tax Thursday.
“We expect the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and every state government to organise sensitization events that would raise awareness of the tax system to ensure massive enrollment of new tax payers.
“We must enroll at least 4 million tax payers and increase the level of payment among the 14 million already registered tax payers.
“We expect that all state governors will personally lead this initiative and support the work of the 7,500 community tax liaison officers that would be employed shortly.’’
On her part, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, stated  that with the scheme, Nigeria hoped to increase tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country from six per cent to 30 per cent.
“If we pass this test, the future of Nigeria is assured,” she said.
Source: globalvillageextra