The Nigerian government is set to jail Nigerian celebrities for as much as five years should they be caught evading tax.
The federal government made this known following the launch of Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme, VAIDS which provides for a grace period of nine months for entertainers to pay up what they owe in taxes.
TheCable reported that the federal government has over the past 15 months used several agencies and departments including the private sector to gather information on tax compliance of many celebrities and high net worth individuals in the country.
The government through the highly qualified personnel at the federal ministry of finance worked with banks, Nigeria Financial Intelligent Unit, NFIU, bureau de change, BDCs, Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, to monitor the degree of tax evasion and compliance of Nigerian entertainers and high earning individuals in the country.
The federal government is also reported to have reviewed land ownership, ownership of exotic cars, yatchs, private jets and other luxurious properties in its new policy to help it better estimate the earnings of the affected persons in order to best calculate their taxes.
TheCable further reports: “Following massive revelations, the government launched VAIDS, a scheme that allows these celebrities and other Nigerians to declare their assets and income, and pay necessary taxes without interest, penalty or investigation.
TheCable understands that the scheme, which will run for nine months, is a grace period for the celebrities to make amends or face the full wrath of the law, which could include jail term of up to five years.
For celebrities with houses in exotic locations worth millions of naira, and a tax record not consistent with the value of the property, the goverment advises that such celebrities “complete form VA1” and clarify sources of income for the house and pay necessary taxes within July 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018.
Celebrities who do not take advantage of the scheme risk “up to five-year imprisonment, get severe extra penalties: up to 100% of the outstanding tax due, a compound interest at 21% per annum, and forfeiture of such assets”.