The Federal Government says it has identified more than 130,000 high profile individuals and corporate organizations in Nigeria with potential tax underpayments.
Finance minister Kemi Adeosun while being featured on a TV program yesterday said Project Lighthouse, apparently recruited by the Federal Government to compile data on tax evaders had been able to identify high net worth individuals who owe the government through; under-declaration of and non-declaration of income earned, collection of Value Added Tax, VAT, charging of non-allowable personal expenses to company accounts, particularly with reference to overseas school fees and inconsistency between income declared for tax purposes and the value of assets owned.
“The data have been received from a number of sources, including land registries of the Governments of Lagos, Kaduna, Kano and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory.
“In addition, Nigeria has been able to request data from a number of nations, including traditional tax havens. The data have been received from a number of foreign jurisdictions under the exchange of information protocols.
“Under the exchange of information protocols, this information relates to bank records and financial filings for tax purposes and is obtained from tax havens who are signatories to the information sharing agreements such as British Virgin Islands and Mauritius,” she revealed.
On the intent of the data collation, Adeosun said the sole interest of the federal and state governments in the use of the data is in raising tax revenues.