From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) has ordered Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of Nigeria’s DSTV, to deposit with the court about N901 billion, being 50 per cent of the alleged N1.823 trillion tax debt it owes the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) before its appeal is heard.
The FIRS said the company was guilty of serial violation of the country’s tax regulations since it commenced operations in Nigeria.
The money also includes 10 per cent of the deposit as a condition precedent for further hearing of the appeal.
The five-member TAT, led by its Chairman, Professor A.B. Ahmed, issued the order following an application to it by the counsel to FIRS.
The FIRS counsel made the application under Order XI of the TAT Procedure Rules 2010 which enables a party to make an application at any stage of the proceedings. Counsel for FIRS drew the attention of the Tribunal to Paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007 and urged the Tribunal to direct Multichoice Nigeria Limited to deposit with the FIRS 50 per cent of the amount of the Assessment under Appeal as security and a condition that must be fulfilled before the prosecution of the appeal brought before TAT.
Meanwhile, MultiChoice Nigeria has said it has noted the media statement on the Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) appeal hearing held on August 24, 2021.
The direction issued by the TAT does not compel MultiChoice Nigeria to make payment of 50 per cent 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 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.