In a bid to encourage voluntary declaration of tax, the Federal Government on Thursday took to the streets of Abuja to enlighten and educate the public on the need to pay tax.
The Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, who led the campaign in Abuja, said it would be held in the 36 states of the country.
He added that the campaign would continue every Thursday for the next one year as declared last week by acting President Yemi Osinbanjo at the inauguration of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDs).
The acting President had directed the FIRS in collaboration with the 36 state governments to organise sensitisation events that would raise tax awareness and result in massive enrollment of new tax payers.
The programme is expected to add four million tax people into the tax net and increase the level of payment among the 14 million already registered taxpayers.
“The only way we can make Nigeria sweet is to start paying our taxes.
“We have come out with the VAIDs programme, which gives everybody the opportunity to come out and declare their income and pay their contribution to ensure that Nigeria becomes a better place.
“I’m sure that if we all contribute, Nigeria will become the Nigeria of our dreams, the Nigeria that is prosperous and conducive to live in.
“Let’s join hands together to realise this dream by paying taxes,’’ Fowler said.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) Traders Association, Mr. Edozie Ugwu, assured that the organisation would strengthen tax compliance so as not to give the government any excuse not to deliver on its promises.
“We are ready to pay our taxes because without taxes, we cannot make the country work. We thank you for giving us the opportunity to regularise our taxes,” he said.
The VAIDs programme offers a grace period from July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, for tax evaders to voluntarily pay back to government what they owe.
In exchange for full and honest declaration, the government promises to waive penalties that should have been levied and also waive the interest that should have been paid on overdue tax.
Also, those who declare honestly will not be subjected to any investigation or tax audit after the grace period.