FIRS, MultiChoice at daggers drawn over alleged tax evasion

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Photo: Multichoice

Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and South African owned PayTV company, MultiChoice, are on each other’s jugular over claims by FIRS that Multichoice is owing huge taxes amounting to ₦1.8trillion and $342.5million.

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FIRS had on Thursday announced the humongous tax evasion by Multichoice and ordered commercial banks to freeze the accounts of the company until it pays up.

Muhammad Nami, Executive Chairman of FIRS, while applying the harmer announced thus: “When it comes to tax compliance, some companies are found wanting. They do with impunity in Nigeria what they dare not try in their countries of origin.”

However, hours after the FIRS’ claim, Multichoice denied not complying with Nigeria’s tax laws or owing any taxes.

MultiChoice while denying the charges of tax evasion as put forward by Nigeria’s federal authorities, argued that the matter was apparently based on unfounded allegations that MultiChoice Nigeria had not fully disclosed all existing subscribers to authorities.

Bamidele Johnson, a representative of MultiChoice, announced in a statement that “MultiChoice Nigeria has not received any notification from FIRS. MultiChoice Nigeria respects and is comfortable that it complies with the tax laws of Nigeria.

“We have been and are currently in discussion with FIRS regarding their concerns and believe that we will be able to resolve the matter amicably.”

Following the muscle flexing and words of attrition between the duo, MultiChoice share price dipped by as much as 7.4% at the close of business in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Bloomberg reports that the dip in share price was its lowest since March 2020, though the volume traded exceeded three times the daily average for the preceding three months.

Periscope International recalls that another South African corporate giant, MTN, was similarly involved in a $2 billion tax evasion claim against it by the Nigerian government way back in 2018.

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