Nigeria govt to prosecute property owners over tax evasion

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The Federal and State Governments have concluded plan to go after property owners in the country, particularly in highbrow areas over tax evasion.

The Federal Government had on July 1, 2017, granted tax payers a nine months grace period to regularise their tax statuses under the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).

Federal Government through its data mining programme tagged “Project Lighthouse’’ had received documents on property owners across the country from state governments.

According to a source from the government, the first set of property owners to come under scrutiny for tax compliance are owners of properties in Maitama, Asokoro, Garki ll, Wuse ll in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Also those with properties in Banana Island and its environs, Magodo, Lekki and Ikoyi in Lagos state would be investigated.

The source also revealed that the Federal Government was also extending the searchlight to the Northern states, the South East and the South-South regions.

The source said that tax records and bank account details of these property owners were presently being reviewed by the team of “Project Lighthouse.”

“The extension of the searchlight on these property owners is not unconnected with Illicit Financial Flow (IFF).

” Most of these people are diverting their incomes to properties and are not paying taxes,” the source said.

It was further disclosed that some state governments had also provided electronic searchable data base for both individual and corporate property owners.

According to the source, the state governments have provided information such as name of owner, plot number, location and Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) number.

The Federal Government had recently vowed to name, shame and prosecute tax evaders from April 1, 2018, after the expiration of the grace period provided by the VAIDs programme.

Under the VAIDS programme, state governments will be major beneficiaries of the programme as after the recovery, the money will go to the states.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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