The Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT or "the Tribunal") sitting in Lagos, on 20 October 2021 ruled, in the case between Multichoice Nigeria Limited (MNL or "the Appellant") and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS or "the Respondent"), that the amount deposited by the Appellant with the FIRS satisfies the provisions of Paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to FIRS (Establishment) Act, 2007, Cap F36, LFN ("FIRSEA") and is sufficient for the Tribunal to commence hearing of the substantive suit.
The FIRS had previously argued that the deposit was statutorily required as a condition precedent before the substantive case can be heard by the Tribunal. This position was contested by the Appellant though the Tribunal ruled in favour of the FIRS.
Specifically, Paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to FIRSEA provides that, "the Tribunal may adjourn the hearing of an appeal to any subsequent day and order the appellant to deposit with the Service, before the day of the adjourned hearing, an amount, on account of the tax charged by the assessment under appeal, equal to the tax charged upon the appellant for the preceding year of assessment or one half of the tax charged by the assessment under appeal, whichever is the lesser plus a sum equal to 10 per cent of the said deposit", if the Service proves to its satisfaction that:
- "the appellant has for the year of assessment concerned, failed to prepare and deliver to the Service returns required to be furnished under the relevant provisions of the tax laws mentioned in Paragraph 11;
- the appeal is frivolous or vexatious or is an abuse of the appeal process; or
- it is expedient to require the appellant to pay an amount as security for prosecuting the appeal.
If the appellant fails to comply with the order, assessment against which he has appealed shall be confirmed and the Appellant shall have no further right of appeal with respect to that assessment."
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