The Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) sitting has ordered Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of popular cable television services, DSTV, to pay 50 per cent of N1.8 trillion tax revenue which the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said they had failed to remit to the federal government.
A statement by Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, PhD, Director, Communications and Liaison Department, Federal Inland Revenue Service said the five-member TAT team, led by its Chairman, Professor A.B. Ahmed, issued the order following an application to it by the Counsel to FIRS.
Multichoice Nigeria Limited had filed the suit at the Lagos office of TAT following its dispute over FIRS’ issuance of Notices of Assessment and Demand in the sum of N1, 822, 923,909,313.94k on 7 April 2021.
The amount according to the FIRS was due in taxation to the Federal Government of Nigeria from Multichoice after an investigation over several months to determine the extent to which Multichoice has been evading taxes in Nigeria.
However, at Tuesday’s hearing of the matter, Multichoice Nigeria Limited amended its Notice of Appeal and thereafter sought through its counsel, Bidemi Olumide for an adjournment of the proceedings.
The request for adjournment it said is to enable it respond to the FIRS’ formal application for Accelerated hearing of the Appeal directing Multichoice to produce before the Tribunal the integrated Annual report and Management Account Statements of Multichoice Group Ltd for Tax Years 2012 to 2020., among other prayers.
Reacting, the FIRS Counsel prayed that Multichoice be issued an order requiring to make a statutory deposit of 50% of the disputed sum.
After hearing arguments from both sides, TAT upheld the FIRS submission and directed Multichoice Nigeria Limited to deposit with the FIRS an amount equaling 50 per cent 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.
TAT adjourned the Appeal to 23 September 2021 for the report of compliance with its order and continuation of the hearing, subject to compliance with the Tribunal’s order.