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More details have emerged on the recent Executive Order 008 entitled: ‘Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme’ (VOARS) signed by President Muhammadu Buhari earlier this week.
The new details was extracted from the leading provision which said “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 interest 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.
“Equally, failure of any defaulting taxpayer to take advantage of this scheme shall, at the expiration of the scheme, result in investigation and enforcement procedures concerning offshore assets anywhere in the world pursuant to information now readily available through automatic exchange of information between Nigeria and foreign countries.”
In accordance with the new order, the Federal Government, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, would set up a VOARS in Switzerland for all categories of taxpayers, who had defaulted in the declaration of their offshore assets, payment of taxes due and collectibles, subject to the fulfilment of the terms and conditions as stipulated in the order, or any other subsequent complementary regulations that follow.
Another key provision of the Order made it clear that the “scheme is open to all persons, entities and their intermediaries holding offshore assets and are in default of their tax obligations in any way, including those who are not already under investigation by law enforcement agencies in Nigeria or any other country, and have not been charged with any crimes, including theft of public funds or obtaining offshore assets through corrupt practices.”
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