MultiChoice Nigeria reaches agreement with authorities in R65-billion tax wrangle

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Canal+ has not wasted any time to increase its stake in Multichoice.
Photo: Gallo Images
Canal+ has not wasted any time to increase its stake in Multichoice. Photo: Gallo Images

MultiChoice Nigeria says it has reached a resolution with that country's tax authorities in a long-standing dispute over a 1.8 trillion naira (~R65-billion) tax bill. 

The company, which provides digital satellite services, had challenged the Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service over a tax claim after the FIRS accused it of skipping taxes and denying auditors access to its servers. 

In a statement on Thursday, MultiChoice Nigeria said it had "agreed to an amicable resolution of the pending tax matters which led to a series of lawsuits". 

As part of the agreement, MultiChoice says it will withdraw all pending lawsuits, while FIRS has resumed a forensic audit of its accounts to determine the company's tax liability. 

"With the agreement and the resumption of the Forensic Systems Audit, it is anticipated that the matters will be resolved expeditiously," MultiChoice said.

Reports emerged last year that FIRS had accused the company of not paying VAT since its inception, and appointed Nigerian Deposit Money Banks as agents to freeze and recover the money from the accounts of MultiChoice Nigeria and MultiChoice Africa.

MultiChoice appealed the matter and paid a $19.4 million (R292.5 million) deposit towards the claim, which it insisted was not an admission of guilt. The company maintained that it had always conducted its business in Nigeria lawfully.

Late on Thursday afternoon, shares in MultiChoice were trading 7% up at R129.71.

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