His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has signed a new Executive Order (EO 008) on Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularization Scheme (VOARS or “the Scheme”) mandating Nigerian taxpayers who hold offshore assets and incomes to voluntarily declare those assets and incomes within a period of 12 months, and pay income tax on them. The Executive Order takes effect from Monday, 8 October 2018.
Based on the Order, affected taxpayers who truthfully and voluntarily comply with the conditions of the Scheme will be granted immunity from prosecution after paying either a one-time levy of 35 percent on their total offshore assets, or the outstanding taxes, penalties and interest determined based on a forensic audit of such assets and income. Tax defaulters who fail to take advantage of the Scheme will be subject to investigation and enforcement procedures on its expiration.
Like the recently concluded Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme, the VOARS has the laudable objectives of expanding Nigeria’s tax base, boosting government revenue, and stemming tax evasion, corruption and money laundering.
We shall provide further details on the Scheme in a subsequent publication as soon as the Executive Order is publicly available.
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