• MultiChoice in N1.8 trillion tax fraud

  • MultiChoice tax evation

  • MultiChoice refuse FIRS access to servers

  • MultiChoice accounts frozen

MultiChoice Africa the parent business of MultiChoice Nigeria is currently embroiled in a multi-billion naira tax evasion controversy, according to E-NIGERIA! Newspaper findings

According to the Federal Inland Revenue Service – FIRS, MultChoice is one of several multinational corporations that refuse to pay taxes to the proper government agency.

After repeated attempts to gain access to MultiChoice servers for audit and to determine its exact number of subscribers in order to allot corresponding tax figures failed, the revenue-generating agency decided to appoint banks as agents and to freeze their accounts, according to a statement seen by E-NIGERIA!

The MultiChoice Group’s companies were found to be consistently breaking their agreements and commitments with the Service.

According to the FIRS, the companies have failed to react to correspondences in a timely manner, lack data integrity, and are not transparent since they refuse to give the FIRS access to their records.

MCN, in particular, has allegedly avoided providing the FIRS with correct statistics on the number of its users and revenue.

“The companies are involved in tax under-remittance, necessitating a critical evaluation of the company’s tax-compliance level,” the statement continued.

The group’s performance does not reflect in its tax responsibilities or compliance level in Nigeria, according to the statement.

“The extent of non-compliance by Multi-Choice Africa (MCA), the parent company of Multi-Choice Nigeria (MCN), is really alarming,” the statement continued. Since its beginning, the parent firm that supplies services to MCN has never paid Value Added Tax (VAT).

“The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) finds the issue of tax collection in Nigeria irritating and infuriating, particularly from foreign-based companies conducting enterprises in Nigeria and reaping large profits. Unfortunately, companies come to Nigeria solely to violate our tax rules by engaging in tax avoidance. There’s no denying that the broadcasting, telecommunications, and cable-satellite businesses have transformed Nigerian communication.

“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.”

The statement further confirmed that Nigeria contributes 34 per cent of total revenue for the Multi-Choice group.

The next to Nigeria from intelligence gathering is Kenya with 11 per cent, and Zambia is in 3rd place with 10 per cent.

The rest of Africa where they have presence accounts for 45 per cent of the group’s total revenue.

Information currently at the disposal of FIRS has revealed a tax liability for relevant years of assessment for ₦1,822,923,909,313.94 and $342,531,206.

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.

The statement added, “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.”

The Executive Chairman, FIRS concluded that it is important that Nigeria puts a stop to all tax frauds that have been going on for too long.

“All Companies must be held accountable and made to pay their fair share of relevant taxes including back duty taxes owed, especially VAT for which they are ordinarily agents of collection,” he said.

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