VAIDS will expose wealthy tax debtors – LIRS chairman

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The Chairman, Lagos Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Hamzat Zubair, has stated that wealthy Nigerians, who have been underpaying taxes, will be easily exposed if they fail to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme.

The LIRS boss said the availability of information locally and internationally made it virtually impossible for tax avoiders to escape detection.

Zubair stated, “There is what we called Project Lighthouse and it has to do with data mining. We are looking at several sources of information and trying to develop and bring out certain data on all taxpayers.

“For instance, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit has information on all payments above N10m. This means all the people that have had transactions in multitudes of N10m are known.”

He added that state land registries were also having data mined from them as a way of establishing the owners of certain properties.

For Nigerians with assets and money abroad, Zubair said the Automatic Exchange of Information, to which Nigeria is a signatory, would make information on wealth available even without a formal request.

He added, “Countries like the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirate, the United States of America, France and Germany are all signatories to this. They are going to compile registers of Nigerians, who own properties and have big bank accounts in their jurisdictions. These will be handed over to the Federal Government for access to information on spending patterns and lifestyles.

“It is confidential information and part of the agreement is that it is kept confidential and restricted to certain level of persons. But primarily, we are going to have access to information.

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