Babatunde Fowler: We have resources to prosecute tax debtors after VAIDS

The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, has warned individuals and corporate entities, who refuse to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme, that the service voted a bigger sum of money for legal fees in its 2018 budget.

Fowler made the disclosure in a recent interview.

The FIRS boss explained that those under the impression that the government will be fazed by an avalanche of litigations that may arise at the closure of the VAIDS window on March 31 are mistaken.

He also warned that the deadline will be not be extended as many are hoping.

Fowler stated that apart from the naming and shaming of tax debtors as well as closure of business premises in the case of companies, those who fail to declare will face prosecution if necessary.

He said: “If it takes that (prosecution), we increased our legal fees in our 2018 Budget…Every tax defaulter will be prosecuted. People say we should use the 80-20 principle, meaning that we focus on those that give us 80 per cent of their taxes.”

Fowler warned that the law demands full compliance and nothing less.

He said: “You can say that you are a big taxpayer and you have paid N1 billion and because you have paid N1 billion, we should leave N500 million you are owing.

“Meanwhile, somebody who paid N100,000 paid 100 per cent of his tax liabilities, meaning he is 100 per cent compliant.

“The organization that paid N1 billion and still has N500 million left is only 50 per cent compliant.

“So, what we look at, as tax administrators, is the level of compliance.”

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