MultiChoice Nigeria on Wednesday disputed reports by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) that the Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) gave an order compelling it to pay 50 percent of the alleged N1.8 trillion outstanding tax debt before its appeal could be heard.
Earlier, the FIRS spokesperson, Abdullahi Ahmad, said in a statement that a Tax Appeal Tribunal sitting in Lagos ordered Multichoice Nigeria Limited, operators of cable pay television services, DSTV, to pay into the FIRS account 50 percent of the total N1.8trillion the tax agency said was the company’s indebtedness, about N900billion.
Also, Ahmad said DSTV was further ordered to pay another N90billion, being value for 10 percent of the deposit, as a condition precedent for the hearing of its appeal.
Ahmad said the order followed an application by the Counsel to FIRS, who said the amount standing against MultiChoice Nigeria as outstanding tax liability based on relevant years of assessment of its tax records.
But MultiChoice Nigeria in its reaction said the directive by the Tribunal was not for it to be compelled to pay 50 percent of N1.8 trillion to the FIRS.
“The directive issued by the TAT in accordance with paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to the FIRS Establishment Act required MultiChoice Nigeria to deposit with FIRS an amount equal to the tax paid by MultiChoice Nigeria in the preceding year of assessment, or one half of the disputed tax assessment under appeal, whichever is the lesser amount plus 10 percent.
“The lesser amount here is the tax paid by MultiChoice Nigeria in the previous assessed year, which is substantially less than the disputed assessment,” MultiChoice Nigeria explained.
The company said as a law-abiding corporate citizen, MultiChoice Nigeria would continue to engage constructively with the FIRS in an attempt to resolve this matter.