Tax Evasion: FIRS appoints banks to recover N1.8trn from Multichoice Group

In a bid to recover N1.8 trillion from accounts of MultiChoice Nigeria Limited (MCN) And MultiChoice Africa (MCA), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has appointed some commercial banks as agents.
Speaking on the matter, Muhammad Nami, FIRS chairman states that the reason was due to the group’s persistent refusal to grant FIRS access to its servers for the purpose of auditing.
According to Nami,  they would appoint banks as agents and to freeze the accounts.
Speaking further, the FIRS boss accused Multichoice of breaching all agreements with the service.
He also accused the companies of not responding to respond to correspondences.
“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,” a statement by Abdullahi Ahmad, FIRS director of communications and liaison department, quoted Nami to have said.
“The level of non-compliance by Multi-Choice Africa (MCA), the parent Company of Multi-Choice Nigeria (MCN) is very alarming. The parent company, which provides services to MCN has never paid Value Added Tax (VAT) since its inception.”
He also said that Nigeria contributes the highest in revenue of the company with  34 percent of total revenue for the group,
“Information currently at the disposal of FIRS has revealed a tax liability for relevant years of assessment for N1.82 trillion and $342.5 million,” he said.
“Under FIRS powers in Section 49 of the Companies Income Tax Act Cap C21 LFN 2004 as amended, Section 41 of the Value Added Tax Act Cap V1 LFN 2004 as amended and Section 31 of the FIRS (Establishment) Act No. 13 of 2007, all bankers to MCA & MCN in Nigeria were therefore appointed as Collecting Agents for the full recovery of the aforesaid tax debt.
“In this regard, the affected banks are required to sweep balances in each of the above-mentioned entities’ accounts and pay the same in full or part settlement of the companies’ respective tax debts until FULL recovery. This should be done before the execution of any transaction involving the companies or any of their subsidiaries. It is further requested that the Federal Inland Revenue Service be informed of any transactions before EXECUTION on the account, especially transfers of funds to any of their subsidiaries.”

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