Nigeria Fishes Out New 130,000 High Net Worth Tax Defaulters
Nigeria’s Ministry of Finance has said it has fished out another batch of over 130, 000 high net worth individuals and corporations who evade taxes.
The Ministry said its data mining project called “Project Lighthouse” identified the tax defaulters.
A statement we obtained from the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) platform on Tuesday read: “The Federal Ministry of Finance data mining project called “Project Lighthouse” has identified a new batch of more than 130,000 high net worth Nigerian individuals and companies that have potential tax underpayments”
According to the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, this information was compiled in preparation for the closure of the Scheme on March 31, 2018.
The Minister, according to the statement which was also tweeted through VAIDS tweeter handle @VAIDNG said: “We’ve collected the data from a number of sources including land registries of the Governments of Lagos, Kaduna, Kano & Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory. We’ve also been able to request and receive data from a number of nations including traditional tax havens,” she said.
Information on the VAIDS platform added: “The Minister further stated that the Automatic Exchange of Information is being used to mine data overseas. Under the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEI), information relating to bank records and financial filings for tax purposes is obtained from tax havens like British Virgin Islands, Mauritius and other participating countries that are signatories to Information exchange agreements.
Mrs. Adeosun reiterated that the data coming from abroad will be used ONLY for taxation purposes in line with the protocols governing the exchange of information. “Our only interest in the data is in raising tax revenues. There‘s no hidden agenda whatsoever on the use of the data,” she said”
Federal government of Nigeria launched the tax amnesty scheme in June 2017 to encourage tax defaulters come forward and clear their tax liabilities without facing commensurate sanctions.