Lending a voice to the highly controversial policy direction from the Ministry of Finance, the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, CPPE has urged the Finance Minister to take another review into a rule that compelled proponents of a tax dispute to deposit 50% of a disputed sum in a court account before the court can hear its displeasure.
According to the group, this move as backed up by the Tax Appeal Tribunal will in no small measure smear the ease of doing business and speak contrary to the principle of natural justice that should cover taxation.
The advocacy group via its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Muda Yusuf in a recent press conference reiterated the need for the government to ensure fairness is instilled in the administration. More so, the CEO pointed that the rule conflicts with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Establishment Act.
Dr. Muda also drew a clear pointer of downside to TAT’s judgement on the Multichoice vs FIRS tax dispute case. This case has snowballed into an avoidable back and forth.
What you should know
Recall that recently, pay-TV giant; MultiChoice Nigeria was accused of a ₦1.8 trillion tax fraud by the FIRS. This announcement was followed by an order by the FIRS for the Multichoice’s account to be frozen.
Heading to the TAT, the court had ruled in line with the new provision that MultiChoice must pay an immediate 50 per cent of the ₦1.8 trillion.
Multichoice has since then refused to pay the sum with an argument that it is not in default of its tax obligations to Nigeria. The company stated that it has complied, as the referenced section of the FIRS Act does not compel it to pay ₦900 billion, 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.