MultiChoice, owner of DStv and GOtv, has expressed its readiness to work with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to prove its tax compliance.
Responding to claims by the FIRS that it (MultiChoice) defaulted in tax payment to the tune of N1.8 trillion, the South African firm, in a statement, yesterday, said: “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.”
Earlier, yesterday, FIRS, in a statement, said it had appointed some commercial banks as agents to recover N1.8 trillion from the accounts of Messrs MultiChoice Nigeria Limited (MCN) and MultiChoice Africa (MCA). This was contained in a statement signed by the Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami.
The statement quoted Nami as saying that the decision to appoint the banks as agents and to freeze the accounts was as a result of the group’s continued refusal to grant FIRS access to its servers for audit.
“It was discovered that the companies persistently breached all agreements and undertakings with the Service. They would not promptly respond to correspondences. They lacked data integrity and are not transparent as they continually deny FIRS access to their records. Particularly, MCN has avoided giving the FIRS accurate information on the number of its subscribers and income. The companies are involved in the under-remittance of taxes which necessitated a critical review of the tax-compliance level of the company,” the statement reads.
The statement, which was signed by FIRS Director, Communications and Liaison Department, Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, noted that the group’s performance does not reflect in its tax obligations and compliance level in Nigeria. FIRS informed that the level of non-compliance by MCA, the parent company of MCN, is very alarming, claiming that the parent company, which provides services to MCN, has never paid Value Added Tax (VAT) since its inception.
According to FIRS, the issue with tax collection in Nigeria, especially from foreign-based companies conducting businesses in Nigeria and making massive profits is frustrating and infuriating to the body.
It said: “Regrettably, companies come into Nigeria just to infringe on our tax laws by indulging in tax evasion. There is no doubt that broadcasting, telecommunications and the cable-satellite industries have changed the face of communication in Nigeria. However, 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.”