The NGN1,310,681,786.30 Withholding Tax assessment on MTN Nigeria by Anambra State Internal Revenue Service (AIRS) has on Thursday, 15th September 2022, been overruled by the Tax Appeal Tribunal (Enugu Division). The Hon. Barr. Chukwuemeka Eze-led Tribunal overruled the tax liability on the grounds that it lacked merit.
The AIRS had requested that MTN Nigeria resubmit documents and information necessary for a tax audit of 2001 – 2014. In response, MTN Nigeria stated that there had already been a tax audit for 2001 – 2013 and backed this up by providing the necessary documents. MTN also averred that the calculated Demand of Notice assessment was later reduced to NGN130,311,903.51 with no reason and that its tax audit records provided were not regarded.
AIRS, in its defense, stated that MTN Nigeria did not submit tax audit evidence for the periods under review and that all its Demand Notices on MTN Nigeria were not arbitrary but in accordance with the law. AIRS pleaded that its name is struck out from the suit on the grounds that it is not a juristic person and so can not be sued since it is just the operational arm of the Anambra State Board of Internal Revenue. It also pleaded that MTN Nigeria be ordered to pay its outstanding WHT liability of NGN130,311,903.51
In its judgment, the tribunal held that the adjudged WHT liability by AIRS on MTN Nigeria was faulty. It also held that the additional assessment on MTN by the Anambra State Board of Internal Revenue was not tenable. The tribunal also urged the AIRS to conduct its assessment in accordance with the provisions of the law for any such assessment to be reckoned with.