Nigerians who own properties in the United Kingdom have inundated the Federal Ministry of Finance’s Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme hotlines with calls, causing the lines to crash on Friday. A source at the VAIDs office told the News Agency of Nigeria that the unprecedented level of calls was not unconnected with the new UK regulation on Unexplained Wealth Orders.
The source disclosed that the VAIDs office received massive calls and frantic requests from taxpayers based in the UK in the last 72 hours, asking for an extension of time to enable them to complete their VAIDS declaration forms. The UK Government had, last week, introduced a new law that requires foreigners who own properties in the country to explain the source of their funds or risk forfeiting them to the government.
According to the new law, the UWOs could be obtained on any property or combination of properties valued at 50,000 pounds (N25m) or more, for which the owner is unable to explain a legal source of its funding. The source said the data already in the possession of the VAIDS office in the Federal Ministry of Finance revealed that many UK property owners had underpaid their taxes before transferring funds overseas to buy properties.