Tax dispute: Tribunal adjourns ruling, as Multichoice deposits N8bn with FIRS

Multichoice Nigeria Limited (MCN), owner of Nigeria’s satellite televisions’ popular subscription-based platforms, DStv, Gotv, says it has complied with the directives of the tax appeal tribunal, (TAT), by depositing with the FIRS an amount required by the law. 

The company stated this yesterday, at the resumption of the tribunal hearing over the alleged N1.8 trillion tax evasion dispute.

Recall that in August, the tribunal, sitting in Lagos, ordered Multichoice to pay 50 percent of a N1.8 trillion tax backlog to the FIRS.

At the hearing, counsel to MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, said the company has complied with the payment of N8 billion — paid in two batches to the FIRS account as instructed by the tribunal on the provision of the FIRS Act.

Paragraph 15(7)(c) of the 5th schedule of the FIRS Act, 2007, requires an appellant to pay 50 percent of the tax paid the previous year plus 10% mark-up as security before prosecuting an appeal.

At the last hearing, the TAT had upheld the FIRS submission and directed Multichoice Nigeria Limited to deposit with the FIRS an amount equals to 50% of the assessment under the appeal plus a sum equal to 10% of the said deposit as a condition precedent for further hearing of the appeal.

The directive had generated confusion among stakeholders as FIRS had asked the company to pay 50% of the disputed sum (N900 billion) under assessment.

On part of FIRS, the counsel claimed that the MCN’s affidavit and documents are self-contradictory and lacked value.

The agency urged the administrative court to prove if they (MCH) had fully complied with the directive before hearing the matter.

The FIRS urged the tribunal to ask MCH to make payment for all preceding years under appeal.

The tribunal chairman, Professor AB Ahmad, noted the argument of both parties and adjourned to October 20, 2021, for the ruling, asking all parties to submit necessary notices before the date.

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