MultiChoice Group said on Thursday that it doesn’t believe it has to pay R32.8-billion to Nigeria’s tax authority – being half of a disputed outstanding tax amount – and that a “substantially” lesser amount is owed.
On Wednesday, Reuters and other newswires reported that a Nigerian tax tribunal had ordered MultiChoice’s Nigerian unit to pay 50% of a disputed ₦1.8-trillion (R65.5-billion) tax bill relating to previous years. This was the claim made in a media statement issued by Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The deposit of 50% of the sum was a condition that had to be fulfilled by MultiChoice Nigeria before the tribunal could hear a full appeal on the matter, the FIRS statement said, according to Reuters.
In July, the FIRS instructed Nigerian banks to freeze MultiChoice accounts because the company had allegedly refused to grant access to tax auditors to its servers.
“The direction issued by the tax appeal tribunal (TAT) does not compel MultiChoice Nigeria to make payment of 50% of ₦1.8-trillion, being half of the disputed tax assessment which is under appeal,” MultiChoice Group said in a statement to shareholders on Thursday before markets opened in Johannesburg.
“The direction issued by the TAT … requires MultiChoice Nigeria to deposit with the FIRS an amount equal to the tax paid by MultiChoice Nigeria in the preceding year of assessment or (MultiChoice’s emphasis) one half of the disputed tax assessment under appeal, whichever is the lesser amount plus 10%,” it said.
“The lesser amount is the tax paid by MultiChoice Nigeria in the previous assessed year, which is substantially less than the disputed assessment.”
It said in its statement that MultiChoice Nigeria is a “law-abiding corporate citizen and continues to engage constructively with the FIRS in an attempt to resolve this matter.”
According to Reuters, the TAT adjourned the case until 23 September, subject to the company complying with its order. — © 2021 NewsCentral Media