Tribunal didn't compel us to pay N900bn to FIRS as backlog - MultiChoice

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John Ugbe, CEO MultiChoice

MultiChoice Nigeria on Wednesday said the Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) did not compel it to make payment of 50% of N1.8 trillion, which is N900 billion to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Director, Communications and Liaison Department of the FIRS, Mr Abdullahi Ahmad had said that a Tax Appeal Tribunal sitting in Lagos had ordered Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of cable television services, DSTV, to pay 50 per cent of N1.8trn tax backlog to the agency.

Ahmad explained that FIRS discovered the backlog through a forensic audit, as it allegedly showed that Multichoice Nigeria Limited had failed to pay to the Government of Nigeria in past assessment years.

He said the five-member TAT, led by its chairman, Prof. A.B. Ahmed, issued the order following an application to it by the counsel to FIRS.

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But MultiChoice, in a statement said that “the direction issued by the TAT does not compel MultiChoice Nigeria to make payment of 50% of N1.8 trillion, being half of the disputed tax assessment which is under appeal.

“The direction issued by the TAT in accordance with paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to the FIRS Establishment Act requires 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%.

“The lesser amount is the tax paid by MultiChoice Nigeria in the previous assessed year which is substantially less than the disputed assessment,” it explained.

The statement said “MultiChoice Nigeria is a law-abiding corporate citizen and continues to engage constructively with FIRS in an attempt to resolve this matter.”

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