Alleged N1.8tr tax debt: MultiChoice Nigeria reacts to FIRS’ order to banks to freeze its accounts


Embattled MultiChoice Nigeria Limited (MCN), Nigeria’s pay TV service provider, has reacted to media reports credited to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) concerning alleged N1.8 trillion debt in unpaid tax liabilities in Nigeria.
In the reports on Thursday, the FIRS announced the appointment of commercial banks as agents to recover the debt from all accounts in commercial banks in Nigeria belonging MultiChoice Nigeria and its parent company, MultiChoice Africa.
The Chairman of FIRS, Muhammad Nami, was quoted in the reports as saying the debt was an accumulation of years of serial violation of the country’s tax regulations by MultiChoice Nigeria and MultiChoice Africa since they began business in Nigeria.
Nami said the decision to go after the companies by ordering their accounts frozen till the full amount was recovered, followed their continued refusal to grant FIRS access to their servers to audit their operations .
He said the two companies have persistently breached all agreements and undertakings with FIRS, by not responding promptly to all correspondences to them relating to tax matters.
Besides, he accused the two companies lacking data integrity and transparency in the handling of tax matters, as they continually deny FIRS access to their tax records.
“Particularly, Multichoice Nigeria has avoided giving the FIRS accurate information on the number of its subscribers and income.
“The companies are involved in the under-remittance of taxes, which necessitated a critical review of their tax-compliance levels,” the FIRS Chairman said.
Besides, he said “the Group’s performance does not reflect in its tax obligations and compliance level in Nigeria.
“The level of non-compliance by Multi-Choice Africa (MCA), the parent Company of Multi-Choice Nigeria (MCN) is very alarming.
“The parent company, which provides services to MCN has never paid Value Added Tax (VAT) since its inception,” he said.
However, in its reaction, MultiChoice Nigeria denied ever receiving any notification from FIRS about these allegations.
While confirming the company was currently in discussion with FIRS regarding their concerns, the company expressed optimism that the matter would be amicably resolve.
The full statement sent to MEDIATRACNET on Thursday reads:
“We have read the media reports and the statements made by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). 
“MultiChoice Nigeria has not received any notification from FIRS. 
“MultiChoice Nigeria respects and is comfortable that it complies with the tax laws of Nigeria. 
“We have been and are currently in discussion with FIRS regarding their concerns and believe that we will be able to resolve the matter amicably,”the company statement said on Thursday.

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