No sacred cows under VAIDS, says Fowler

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The Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, has advised prominent Nigerians with tax liabilities to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme, as political, social or economic prominence will not insulate them from sanctions for non-declaration.

Fowler gave the advice in an interview in Lagos on Saturday.

According to the FIRS chairman, the VAIDS offers all categories of tax debtors the opportunity to regularise their status and warned that failure to take advantage of the tax amnesty programme, which ends on March 31, will attract a number of sanctions.

These, he said, included the payment of penalties and interests on owed taxes, tax audit and prosecution.

Asked if Nigerians with strong social and political connections would not escape sanctions for failure to comply with the VAIDS, Fowler explained that the laws against tax avoidance did not respect political, social or corporate positions.

He also stated that neither President Muhammadu Buhari, who nominated him as the FIRS chairman, nor Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, heading the Federal Government’s Economic Management Team, had given instructions that tax-owing influential Nigerians should be treated differently.

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