Saturday, July 15, 2017

VAIDS, golden opportunity for Nigerians to regularize taxes

The introduction of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) has been described as a golden opportunity for Nigerian companies and entrepreneurs to regularise their taxes, says the Regional Director, Sage West Africa, Mr. Magnus Nmonwu, reports ITRealms.

The scheme, ITRealms recalls would run from 1 July 2017 to 31 March 2018.

 According to him, the scheme gives taxpayers an opportunity to voluntarily declare all previously undisclosed assets and income, and thereby regularise their taxes.

The Nigerian companies and entrepreneurs, he said, who do not have their tax affairs in order should act now to take advantage of VAIDS.

“It gives taxpayers an opportunity to voluntarily declare all previously undisclosed assets and income, and thereby regularise their affairs. VAIDS applies to all taxpaying entities; individuals, companies, executors, trusts, partnerships and so on and encompasses most tax categories, including company income, personal income, capital gains, Value Added Tax (VAT) and stamp duty.

This scheme, he pointed out is implemented by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in collaboration with the State tax authorities, and aimed at increasing Nigeria’s tax base, improve the tax collection to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio and clamp down non-compliance.

“This is a perfect opportunity to come clean for people and companies who have under-declared or failed to declare their assets and income,” he said, stressing that when the window closes on 31 March, 2018, companies and individuals that do not have their tax affairs in order may be subject to stringent penalties, punitive interest and even criminal prosecution.

“They may be named and shamed in a register of tax evaders, harming their personal and business reputations,” he said.

Further, Nmonwu said that the first step to compliance is getting business’s books in order, irrespective of whether they are running a registered company, earning freelance income or working in a partnership. The right accounting and payroll software can make it simpler to report accurately on revenue and expenses and to streamline tax submissions.

“Spreadsheets and other manual methods are no longer sufficient to keep up with the growing complexity of today’s tax environment. Automated software can streamline capturing of transactions, automate payroll calculations, processes and improve visibility into the business so you can comply more easily.

“It can also help you stay on top of annual changes to tax regulations that impact on payroll tax calculations and various changes in legislation. What’s more, the ability to generate tax certificates, reports and electronic payslips with the click of a button is a major time-saver,” he said.

Emphasisting that Nigeria’s federal and state governments are eager to expand their tax bases, and are investing heavily in modernising and streamlining tax administration.

“Companies can no longer risk non-payment of tax or incorrect remittances of taxes to the relevant government agencies, whether the reason is deliberate evasion or an accidental oversight,” Magnus Nmonwu.

Chuks Egbune/GEE
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