By Chika Otuchikere
The Federal Government has identified a new batch of over 130,000 high net worth individuals and companies that have potential tax underpayments.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, revealed this on Tuesday while appearing on the Good Morning Nigeria programme of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
Adeosun disclosed that the data was currently being compiled by Project Lighthouse in preparation for the closure of the ongoing Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), which ends on 31st March.
Project Lighthouse is a unique project of the Federal Ministry of Finance that combines data from Federal and State agencies and overseas countries.
a�?The data have been received from a number of sources including land registries of the Governments of Lagos, Kaduna, Kano and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory.
a�?In addition, Nigeria has been able to request data from a number of nations including traditional tax havens. The data have been received from a number of foreign jurisdictions under the exchange of information protocols.
a�?Under the exchange of information protocols, this information relates to bank records and financial filings for tax purposes and is obtained from tax havens who are signatories to the information sharing agreements such as British Virgin Islands and Mauritius,a�? she said.
The Minister explained that the data received from overseas countries would only be used for taxation purposes in line with the protocols governing the exchange of information
a�?The sole interest of the Federal and State Governments in the use of the data is in raising tax revenues. There is absolutely no hidden agenda on the use of the data,a�? she added.
Adeosun hailed the a�?unprecedenteda�� level of cooperation between the Federal and State Governments, which she said was a marked change from the past when the various arms of Government did not align their efforts.
Asked if the Federal Government would extend the deadline of the tax amnesty programme, the Minister ruled out an extension of the deadline saying sufficient period had been given to tax payers to voluntarily and truthfully declare their assets and income which had not been declared previously.
By Chika Otuchikere