Alleged Tax Evasion: Multichoice ordered to pay N900bn to FIRS before Sept 23

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DSTV parent company, Multichoice, has been ordered by the Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) sitting in Lagos to pay back 50% (N900bn) of the N1.8 trillion tax it allegedly owed with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

This was revealed by FIRS spokesperson, Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad. The company was also ordered to pay 10% of the deposit (N90 million) which along with the N900 billion would serve as a condition precedent for further hearing of the appeal.

Recall that in July, the FIRS has directed commercial banks to freeze and recover over N1.8 trillion in taxes from MultiChoice Nigeria Limited (MCN) And MultiChoice Africa (MCA).

According to the service, MultiChoice the owners of popular satellite Tv, DSTv, has persistently breached all agreements and undertakings with the Service.

It added that performance did not reflect in their tax obligations and compliance level in the country and upon request, Multichoice refused to grant FIRS access to their servers for audit.

In response, Multichoice says the commission’s allegations are unfounded. It added that it was fully engaged in a transparent process with the FIRS and believed that the matter would be amicably resolved.

“The matter is apparently based on unfounded allegations that MultiChoice Nigeria has not fully disclosed all existing subscribers to authorities,” the South African company said.

But at a resumed hearing on Tuesday, following an application brought to the tribunal by the counsel to FIRS, the chairman of the Tax Appeal Tribunal, A.B. Ahmed issued an order for Multichoice to pay half of what is allegedly owed before the appeal can be continued.

Alleged Tax Evasion: Multichoice ordered to pay N900bn before Sept 23

According to the chairman, this was a requirement under Paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to the FIRS Act (2007). According to the Act, Multichoice, or any other taxpayer who disputes their tax assessments must make the statutory deposit as a condition that must be fulfilled before the prosecution of the appeal brought before TAT.

“In certain defined circumstances to which the Multichoice appeal fits, Paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007 (FIRS Act) requires persons or companies seeking to contest a tax assessment to pay all or a stipulated percentage of the tax assessed before they can be allowed to argue their appeal contesting the assessment at TAT.”

AB Ahmed

According to FIRS spokesperson, Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, Multichoice initiated the suit at the Lagos TAT after the agency issued notices of assessment and demand note in the sum of N1, 822, 923,909,313.94k on April 7, 2021.

In response, the FIRS, through its counsel prayed the TAT to order Multichoice to make the statutory deposit of 50% of the disputed sum as required by the law.

The tribunal upheld the FIRS submission after hearing both arguments and directed Multichoice to deposit 50% of the disputed sum plus an additional 10% of the deposit as a condition for further hearing of the appeal. The tribunal then adjourned the matter till September 23 subject to compliance with its order.


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