The Economic Amnesty Bill

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A BILL FOR AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A SCHEME TO HARNESS UNTAXED MONEY FOR INVESTMENT PURPOSES AND TO ASSURE ANY DECLARANT REGARDING INQUIRIES AND PROCEEDINGS UNDER NIGERIAN LAWS AND FOR OTHER MATTERS CONNECTED THEREWITH.
Sponsored By: Hon. Linus Okorie
ENACTED by the National Assembly of the Federal republic of
Nigeria as KiFollows;

1. (1) There is established a scheme to be known as Voluntary Taxable
Income Recovery and Amnesty Scheme (herein after called the
Scheme)
(2) The Scheme shall come into force on such other later date as the
Federal Government may, by notification in the Official
Gazette, specify in their behalf;
(3) The provision of this Scheme shall be implemented by the bank.

Establishment of the voluntary taxable income Recovery and Amnesty Scheme

Commencement

2. In this Scheme, unless the context otherwise requires,
(a) Amnesty means state of being pardon;
(b) Bank means the Central Bank of Nigeria;
(c) “Declarant” means a person making the declaration under section
1 sub-section (3) of this Bill;
(d) “Income-tax Law” means the all existing Tax Laws in Nigeria;

(e) “remittance” means return of money made in foreign exchange by
any person resident outside Nigeria to a person resident in
Nigeria on or after the date of commencement of this Act but
before the specified date, in the form of drafts, travelers
cheques, cheques drawn on
banks situated outside Nigeria, telegraphic transfer, mail
transfers, money orders or by way of transfer from Non
resident (External) Account, Foreign Currency Non
resident Account or Foreign Currency
Non-resident Special Deposit Account maintained in Nigeria
under the rules made under any Law relating to Foreign
Exchange;
(f) “specified date” means such later date as the Federal
Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette
specify in that behalf;
Interpretation.

 

3. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Scheme, any person may make,
on or after the date of commencement of this Scheme but before
a date to be notified by the Central bank of Nigeria in an Official
Gazette, a declaration in respect of any income chargeable
under the Income-tax Law for any assessment prior to the
enactment of this Act;

for which he has failed to furnish or disclose under the Income-tax Law;

which he has failed to disclose or return under
any law in operation before the date of
commencement of this Scheme;

 

which has escaped assessment by reason of the omission
or failure on the part of such person to fully disclose
all material facts necessary for the assessment of such
income

(2) Where the income chargeable to tax is declared in the form
of investment in any asset, the fair market value of such asset
as on the date of commencement of this Scheme shall be deemed
to be the undisclosed income for the purposes of sub-section (1).

(3) The fair market value of any asset shall be determined in such
manner, as may be prescribed under section 22.

(4) No deduction in respect of any expenditure or allowance shall be
allowed against the income in respect of which declaration under
this section is made.

 

Declaration of undisclosed income

4. (1) Not withstanding anything contained in the Income-tax Law or
in any Law, the undisclosed income declared under section 3
within the time specified therein shall be chargeable to tax at
the rate of thirty per cent of such undisclosed income.

(2) The amount of tax chargeable under sub-section (1) shall be
increased by a surcharge, calculated at the rate of twenty-five
percent of such tax to contribute to The Agricultural Research
Council of Nigeria and the Nigerian Infrastructure fund, towards
fulfilling Governments commitment to agricultural and
Economic development.
5. The amount declared from the undisclosed income
Shall, (after payment of the tax, surcharge in respect of
the declaration) be invested in Nigeria by the declarant in
any sector of the Nigerian economy, and in accordance with
the regulations made under section 22.
Charge of tax and surcharge

 

 

 

 

Investment of Fund Declared

 

6. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Income-tax Law or in
any Law, the person making such a declaration shall not, in addition
to tax and surcharge under section 4, be liable to penalty of such
income.

 

7. (1) A declaration under section 3 shall be made to the Chairman of
the Federal Inland Revenue Service and shall be in such form and
be verified in such manner, as may be prescribed under section 19

(2) The declaration shall be signed,
(a) Where the Declarant is an individual, by the individual himself;
where such individual is absent from Nigeria, by the individual
concerned or by his solicitor or person duly authorized by him
in this behalf; and where the individual is mentally
incapacitated, by his guardian or by any other person
competent to act on his behalf;

(b) Where the declarant is a family, by any adult member of such
family;

(c) where the declarant is a company, by the Managing Director
thereof, or where for any reason the Managing
Director is not able to sign the declaration or where there is
no Managing Director, by any director thereof;

(d) where the declarant is a firm, by the managing partner thereof,
or where for any reason such managing partner
is not able to sign the declaration, or where there is no
managing partner as such, by any partner thereof, not being a
minor;

(e) where the declarant is any other association, by any member
of the association or the principal officer thereof; and

(f) where the declarant is any other person, by that person or by
some other person competent to act on his behalf.

(3) Any person, who has made a declaration under sub-section (1) of
section 3 in respect of his income or as a representative in respect
of the income of any other person, shall not be entitled to make
any other declaration, under that sub-section in respect of his
income or the income of such other person, and any such other
declaration, if made, shall be void.

 

Manner of declaration

 

8.  (1) The tax and surcharge payable under section 4 in respect of the
undisclosed income, shall be paid on or before a date to be
notified by the Federal Government in the Official Gazette.

(2) The declarant shall file the proof of payment of tax, and surcharge
on or before the date notified under sub-section (1), before whom
the declaration under section 3 was made.

(3) If the declarant fails to pay the tax, surcharge in respect of the
Declaration made under section 3 on or before the date specified
under sub-section (1), the declaration filed by him shall be
deemed never to have been made under this Scheme.

Time for payment of tax

 

9. The amount of undisclosed income declared in accordance with
section 3 shall not be included in the total income of the declarant
for any assessment year under the Income-tax Law, if the declarant
makes the payment of tax and surcharge referred to in section 4,
by the date specified under sub-section (1) of section 7.

 

10. A declarant under this Scheme shall not be entitled, in respect
of undisclosed income declared, or any amount of tax and
surcharge paid thereon, to re-open any assessment or
reassessment made), or claim any set off or relief in any appeal,
reference or other proceeding assessment or reassessment
in relation to any such of undisclosed income declared.

Undisclosed income declared not to affect finality of completed Assessments

 

11. The provisions of this Act shall apply to transactions where a
property is held by or transferred to a person, but has been
provided for or paid for, by another person and such
property transactions where:

the transaction is made in a fictitious name,
the owner is not aware or had denied knowledge of the ownership of the property, or
the person who provided the consideration for the property
is not traceable;

And shall apply in respect of the declaration of undisclosed income
made in the form of investment in any asset, if the asset existing in
the name of another, is transferred to the declarant, being the
person who provides the consideration for such asset, or his legal
representative, within the period specified by the Central bank of
Nigeria.

Undisclosed assets

 

12. Any amount of tax and surcharge paid under section 4 or made
pursuance to the declaration made under section 3 shall not be
refundable.

Tax under scheme not refundable.

 

13. Except in matters of National Security, any declaration made under
section 3 shall not be admissible in evidence against the declarant
for the purpose of any proceeding relating to prosecution, imposition
of penalty, or a jail sentence, other than the tax and surcharge
leviable under section 4, or for this Act, notwithstanding anything
contained in any other law for the time being in force:

Provided that in matters of national security such facts and
issues relating to shall first be determined by a court of
competent Jurisdiction before effect is given to the exception in section 12.

Exception

 

14. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Scheme, where a
declaration has been made by misrepresentation or suppression
of facts, such declaration shall be void and shall be deemed not
to have been made under this Scheme.

Misrepresentation of Facts

 

15. (1) Where the undisclosed income is represented by cash
(including bank deposits), bullion, investment in shares
or any other assets specified in the declaration made
under section 3

in respect of which the declarant has failed to furnish a return under any Law in operation, for the assessment year commencing on or before the commencement of this Act; or
which have not been declared in any return form furnished by himfor the said assessment year or years; notwithstanding anything contained in any Law or any rules made thereunder,
(i) Such assessment shall not be payable by the declarant in
respect of the assets referred to in clause (a) or clause (b)
and such assets shall not be included in his net-worth for
the said assessment year or years;

(2) The provisions of sub-section (1) shall not apply unless the
conditions specified in section 7 (1) and (2) are
fulfilled the declarant

Exemption from further assessment

 

16. (1) Where the undisclosed income is represented in foreign bank
deposits, foreign investment or any other assets outside Nigeria,
specified in the declaration made under section 3, requiring
remittance from outside Nigeria

no Declarant, (for the purposes of receiving remittance   under this Act) who claims immunity in accordance with
this scheme shall be required to disclose, for any purpose
whatsoever, the nature and source of the remittance made
to him;

(b) no inquiry of investigation shall be commenced against the
recipient under any such law on the ground that he has
received such remittance;

(c) the fact that the recipient has received a remittance shall
not be taken into account and shall be inadmissible as
evidence in any proceedings relating to any offence or the
imposition of any penalty under any law;

(2) Nothing in sub-section 15 (1) shall apply in relation to any foreign
exchange, to be brought into Nigeria under any of the provisions
of-

(i) Money Laundering Act or;
(ii) the Income-tax Law;
(iii ) Exchange Regulation law applicable in Nigeria;
(iv) prosecution for any offence punishable under
Nigeria Penal / criminal Code, Laws on the Narcotic
/Drugs and Substances, and laws for Prevention of
Corruption or;
(v) or for the purpose of enforcement of any civil liability;

if the period notified by the Central bank of Nigeria, in an Official
Gazette, within which remittance of such foreign exchanges is
to be brought into Nigeria under this Act has expired

Remittances of foreign assets

 

17. For Avoidance of doubts, it is hereby declared that
(a) save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act, nothing
contained in this Scheme shall be construed as conferring any
benefit, concession or immunity on any person other than the person
making the declaration under this Scheme;
(b) where any declaration has been made under section 3 but no
tax, surcharge referred to in section 4 has been paid within the
time specified under section 7, the undisclosed income shall be
chargeable to tax under the Income-tax Law in the previous year
in which such declaration is made;

 

 

Avoidance of doubts

18. (1) If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions
of this Scheme, the Federal Government may, by order,
not inconsistent with the this Scheme, remove the difficulty: Provided that no such order shall be made after the
expiry of the date on which the provisions of this Scheme
shall come to an end.

(2) Every order made under this section shall take effect until
such order is laid before each House of National Assembly
. and approved.

Provided that where National Assembly fails to act on the order
after 30 Days of its being laid, the order shall immediately come
in to effect and become applicable notwithstanding the provisions
of subsection 18(2)

Power to remove difficulties

 

19. Notwithstanding any law, a declarant shall be entitled to automatic
amnesty, and the sources(s) of such money shall not be required to

 

Amnesty

 

20. The Central Bank of Nigeria may by regulation set time frame
within which such declaration made; Provide that where the
declaration is made after the lapse of time, the declarant shall
not be entitled to economic amnesty thereof.

 

Time Frame

 

21. (1) The Bill shall cease to apply three years after its
commencement.
(2) The Central Bank of Nigeria may provide regulations for giving
effect to this Bill.

Duration

 

22. (1) The Central Bank Governor, by notification in the Official
Gazette make regulation for carrying out the provisions of this
Scheme.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, such
regulations may provide for the form in which a declaration may
be made under section 3 subsection (2).
(3) Every regulation made under this Scheme shall be laid, as soon
as it is made, before both Houses of the National Assembly,
while it is in session, for a total period of thirty (30) days, and
both Houses may before the expiry of the 30 days do the
following;
approve the rules as it is;
agree and make modifications in the rule or
agree that the rule should not be made

Thereafter the rules shall have effect only in such approved form,
modified form or be of no effect as the case may be; so, however,
that such any approval, modification or annulment shall be
without prejudice to the validity of any previously done under that
rule.

Power to make regulations

 

23. The Central Bank shall quarterly transmit to each House of the
National Assembly;
a report on the evaluation of the scheme;
the evaluation report shall include particulars of assets and funds declared, total amount of Tax and Surcharges recovered;
any other information as may be determined and required by the National Assembly;
recommendations for improving implementation of this Act.

Quarterly report

 

24. (1) This Bill may be cited as the Voluntary Income Declaration,
Recovery and Amnesty Scheme, 2017

Citation

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM
This Bill seeks to establish a Scheme to harness untaxed money for investment purposes and to give some assurance allaying the apprehensions of declarants regarding inquiries and proceedings under Nigerian Laws and other matters related thereto.

 

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