Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, says thousands will get letters advising them to pay up the differences in their taxes and take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).
Adeosun disclosed this during the weekend while speaking at workshop organised by the federal ministry of finance, Federal Inland Revenue Service and Joint Tax Board for lawyers, accountants and other professionals.
The minister said 500 letters would be sent out to prominent Nigerians, starting from Monday, November 27.
“The first 500 letters are ready and will go out this week but there are many more. Receiving the letter is not an accusation of deliberate wrongdoing but rather a notice that the data suggests possible underpayment and a prompt to check compliance,” she said.
“It is premature to call such persons tax evaders as there are many reasons that taxpayers may have failed to comply. We will only label people as real tax evaders when the amnesty deadline expires and they have failed to regularize.
“Such persons can then legitimately be called tax evaders, as their non-participation in VAIDS indicates that they are willful tax evaders. We will then proceed to apply the full weight of the law.
“We are sending out thousands of letters to those in the high-risk categories but our advice is that every person and every company should do a self-assessment and take advantage of VAIDS to correct any under declaration, irrespective of whether they get a letter.”
According to a statement signed by Oluyinka Akintunde, special adviser, media and communications to the minister, the ministry reviewed the tax profiles of companies that received major payments from the federal government in the last five years and found irregularities.
She also said 1,710 community tax liaison officers (CTLOs) had been deployed to 33 states out of the 2,190 tax officers recruited and trained to raise awareness about the scheme.
The CTLOs are currently operating in Adamawa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Kaduna, Kwara, Lagos, Nassarawa, Niger, Ogun and Oyo, among others.