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Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, has said the collation of tax defaulters following the expiration of the Voluntary Assets Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) policy on June 30, has begun.

According to Fowler, the lists of defaulters would be released tentatively by middle of July this year.

He gave this indications after a session with the Federal Executive Council (FEC), chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Where he had briefed the Council on the ratification of automatic exchange of information with other countries.

The FIRS Boss also cleared the air on multiple taxation in the country, saying there was no case of multiple taxation in the country as was being speculated.

On the VAIDS policy, Fowler said, “The response has been very good. We are collating all the figures both at the federal levels and the states levels and I believe that by the middle of July, we should be able to tell the nation the exact progress in terms of the numbers that have declared, amount that have been paid and amount that is going to be paid instalmentally.”

He said those who refused to take advantage of the grace given by the Voluntary Assets Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) policy, which expired at the end of last month, would be made to pay their taxes alongside the required penalties.

He equally said VAIDS expired on June 30th and anyone who has not come forth by now to declare his or her asset 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 will be implemented.

On alleged multiple taxation by government agencies, Fowler said “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 categorize 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.”

On why he appeared before FEC, he said “I was here today to attend the meeting with the Minister of Finance to ratify the automatic exchange of information.

“Basically what this means is that Nigeria as a country exchange financial information with other member countries which hopefully should improve our revenues and also ensure that all Nigerians that do have investments or businesses or incomes abroad will pay their taxes as at and when due.”

He told State House Correspondents that government encourages the people to pay their taxes voluntarily.

“The federal government has through the ministry of information and also through the office of the Vice President have been talking about the different projects that have been financed with tax revenues and I think as Nigerians begin to see those dividends of democracy, very good spending, people will be more encouraged to pay more taxes,” Fowler added.

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