MultiChoice has disputed reports that it was ordered by a Nigerian appeal tribunal to pay 50% of a 1.8 trillion naira (R66 billion) disputed tax backlog imposed on it by Nigerian authorities.
MultiChoice had to pay the R33 billion as a deposit and condition of the pay-TV company’s case being heard, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says in an emailed statement on Wednesday. Bloomberg reported that the case has been adjourned for hearing on September 23.
But MultiChoice Nigeria said in a statement that the direction issued by the tribunal does not compel Multichoice Nigeria to make payment of 50% of 1.8 trillion naira, 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%.
“The lesser amount is the tax paid by Multichoice Nigeria in the previous assessed year which is substantially less than the disputed assessment.”
The company said it continues to engage with FIRS in an attempt to resolve the issue.
Last month, Nigerian authorities ordered local banks to freeze Multichoice’s accounts the unpaid tax. FIRS executive chairman Muhammad Nami said the decision to freeze the accounts was as a result of the group’s under-remittance of taxes and continued refusal to grant FIRS access to its servers for audit.