MONEY LAUNDERING, TAX EVASION: PRESIDENT BUHARI SIGNS NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER
16.10.2018ACAS-Law, Finance, Tax
President Muhammadu Buhari on 8 October 2018 signed a new executive order (“Order”), Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularization Scheme (“VOARS”), meant to target money launderers and tax evaders.
According to VOARS, Nigerian taxpayers holding offshore assets and income are expected to voluntarily declare those assets and pay the required taxes on such assets. A 12-month period has been given for voluntary compliance.
The Order states that “any taxpayer who truthfully and voluntarily complies with the conditions of the scheme, pays a one-time levy of 35 per cent on the total offshore assets or pays all outstanding taxes, penalties and interests after forensic audit of their offshore assets and income, shall obtain immunity from prosecution for tax offences and offences related to offshore assets, among others.”
Defaulting taxpayers who fail to take advantage of VOARS will, at the expiration of the scheme, be subject to investigation and enforcement procedures. The aim of the Order is to help to facilitate the expedient regularisation of offshore assets connected to Nigeria which, as a result of various loopholes, are usually not declared. The VOARS is expected to lead to “a new expanded tax base for the Federal Government” and will hopefully shore up Nigerian tax laws which require every citizen to declare his or her income and assets and pay accruable taxes.
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