A Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) sitting in Lagos on Wednesday ordered Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of Digital Satellite Television (DSTV), to pay 50 per cent of N1.8 trillion to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) before the appeal proceedings start.
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) had determined through forensic audit that Multichoice Nigeria Limited had failed to pay to the government in past assessment years N1.8 trillion.
A statement from the FIRS on Wednesday said a five-member TAT led by its Chairman, Prof. A.B. Ahmed, issued the order following an application to it by the counsel to FIRS.
The counsel to the FIRS had “made the application under Order XI of the TAT Procedure Rules 2010 which requires Multichoice, or any other taxpayer who disputes their tax assessments, to make the statutory deposit required under Paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007 (FIRS Act) as a condition that must be fulfilled before the prosecution of the appeal brought before TAT”.
But MultiChoice said in a statement that the tribunal did not compel MultiChoice to payment 50 per cent of N1.8trillion, being half of the disputed tax assessment which is under appeal.
It said: “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 per cent. The lesser amount is the tax paid by MultiChoice Nigeria in the previous assessed year which is substantially less than the disputed assessment.
”MultiChoice Nigeria is a law-abiding corporate citizen and continues to engage constructively with FIRS in an attempt to resolve this matter.The TAT adjourned the appeal to September 23, 2021 for the continuation of the hearing, subject to compliance with the Tribunal’s order.’’