About N17 billion has been recovered in taxes from those who have voluntarily declared their tax liabilities, it was learnt yesterday.

The tonic is the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said.

FIRS Executive Chairman Tunde Fowler said the N17 billion came from about 500 firms; N6 billion is expected from Nigerians who voluntarily declared their tax liabilities to the authorities before month end.

Fowler, who spoke at a workshop on VAIDS in Abuja, said firms were keen to seize the amnesty to regularise their tax status

Fowler said the tax authorities had identified 2,000 properties in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja whose owners neither pay taxes nor file returns.

At the end of the VAIDS, if the owners of the 2,000 properties refuse to pay the due taxes on these properties, Fowler said, the FIRS would approach the court for approval to dispose of the properties. “After netting off taxes due on them, the balance, if any, will be handed to their owners.”

He stressed that the March 2018 deadline for individuals and firms to regularise their tax liabilities remained sacrosanct.

Managing Consultant, Pedabo Associates Limited, Alberto Folorunso, shed more light on the status of churches, mosques and other houses of worship,.

The VAIDS consultant said churches and mosques are exempted from taxes by law but if they engage in business activities that generate income, those income will be taxed.

Regarding property tax, Albert Folorunsho explained that, “when a property, whether owned by individuals or company begins to generate income, the owner will be required to pay tax on the income on the property. Rent is a taxable income”, he said.

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