The Lagos zone of the Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) hearing the tax N1.8 trillion tax dispute between the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and MultiChoice Nigeria has announced October 20 as the date for the ruling on the matter. The announcement was made yesterday by Professor AB Ahmad, the tribunal chairman, at the resumed hearing. MultiChoice described the alleged tax liability as a product of “hastiness, lack of thoroughness and presumptuousness”.
At the hearing, counsel to the FIRS urged the tribunal to demand proof of deposit of N900billion (50 per cent of the alleged tax liability) it ordered MultiChoice to make on 24 August before the continuation of its appeal.
The FIRS argued that Paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to the FIRS (Establishment) Act 2007 compels a taxpayer disputing its assessment to make a statutory payment of 50 per cent of the disputed sum before the tribunal could prosecute an appeal brought before it. The agency stated that in the absence of a proof of deposit, it should discontinue hearing of the appeal and enter judgment against MultiChoice.
MultiChoice, however, stated that it has complied, as the referenced section of the FIRS Act does not compel it to pay N900billion but an amount equal to its tax in the preceding year of assessment or one half of the disputed tax assessment under appeal, whichever is the lesser amount plus 10 percent.