The Federal Government on Tuesday said it will thoroughly verify all tax declarations made by Nigerians to ensure appropriate remittances are offered.
It also stressed that offshore tax shelters should not be substituted for tax evasion.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, who made this known in Abuja, also urged Nigerians to review any existing tax planning schemes, including those in offshore tax havens, in order to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) to regularise their tax status where necessary.
According to her, though the use of tax avoidance schemes was legal, tax evasion was not.
Her words: “The critical question to be asked of all Nigerian tax payers using offshore tax shelters will be whether all applicable taxes have been paid prior to the transfer of funds or assets to a tax shelter.
“If all taxes had been paid, then there will be no additional liability except tax payable on further income earned on those funds. However, if taxes had not been paid, then the use of such schemes is illegal.”
The minister further counselled users of such structures to seek professional advice, explaining that the Federal Ministry of Finance was offering free training to professional advisers on the VAIDS to enable them support their clients.