MTN Nigeria has asked a Nigerian tax tribunal to rule on whether the company should pay corporate tax on a N330bn ($1.1bn) fine, a spokesman for the telecoms company has said. The company, in a statement issued on Friday, explained that it had a technical disagreement with Federal Internal Revenue Service regarding tax deductions from the fine.
The telco said though the money had been paid to the FIRS, it had taken the disagreement to the tax tribunal set up by the FIRS Chairman, Babatunde Fowler, and the former Minister of Finance. “MTN remains fully compliant with Nigerian tax laws and will abide by the findings of the tribunal. The company is committed to meeting its fiscal responsibilities and contributing to the social and economic development of Nigeria,” the statement said.
“MTN remains fully compliant with Nigerian tax laws and will abide by the findings of the tribunal. The company is committed to meeting its fiscal responsibilities and contributing to the social and economic development of Nigeria.” The Nigerian subsidiary of South Africa’s telecom company was originally fined N1.04tn for failing to deactivate more than five million unregistered SIM cards.
It, however, negotiated a reduced fine on the condition that it would list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange earlier this year. After four years, the telco completed the payment of the fine in line with a structured payment plan agreed with the Nigerian Communications Commission.
The company followed the plan and completed the payment of the fine on May 31, 2019. MTN Nigeria said it had requested the judicial review after the Nigerian tax authority, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, disagreed with the company’s accounting treatment of the fine as an operating cost.
“We believe that the fine should be treated as part of cost of running the business but the FIRS thinks otherwise,” MTN Nigeria’s spokesman told Reuters. Punch