The Lagos State Division of the Tax Appeal Tribunal has issued a ruling favoring the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in its case against MTN Nigeria Communications, resulting in an order for MTN to pay the sum of $72,551,059 in unpaid taxes for the period spanning from 2007 to 2017.
BrandSpur Nigeria gathered that the telecommunications company, however, was absolved from paying an additional $21,039,807, which comprised penalties and interest on the principal amount.
A five-member panel, led by Professor A. B. Hamed, delivered the verdict and order on Friday. Other members of the panel included P. A. Olayemi, Babatunde Sobamowo, Samuel N. Ohwerhoye, and Terzungwe Gbakighir.
The dispute originated from an investigation initiated by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation into MTN’s Forms A and M transactions, covering the accounting years from 2007 to 2017.
In August 2018, the OAGF adjusted the alleged outstanding import duty and VAT amounts to N242.2 billion for Form M visible transactions and $1.284 billion for Form A invisible transactions.
In mid-2020, the FIRS received a report from the OAGF concerning MTN’s alleged liability to VAT and Withholding tax (WHT).
Subsequently, the FIRS conducted a review of MTN’s tax and accounting records, upholding the OAGF’s alleged tax liability.
MTN contested the initial assessment, leading the FIRS to issue a revised VAT assessment in July 2021.
This revised assessment amounted to $93,590,366, including $72,551,059 as the principal tax liability and $21,039,807 in penalties and interest on the principal sum.
In response to the revised assessment, MTN filed an appeal with the Tax Appeal Tribunal, leading to the recent ruling by the panel.