MultiChoice Nigeria Cleared To Appeal $4.4bn Tax Claim
A Nigerian tax tribunal has cleared MultiChoice Group Ltd., Africa’s biggest pay-TV provider, to appeal a disputed $4.4 billion tax bill in the country.
The South African company’s local unit was allowed to proceed after paying a $19.4 million deposit, according to a statement on Wednesday.
The ruling came as somewhat of a reprieve for the Johannesburg-based firm, as the West African nation’s tax authorities said in August it would have to pay half the claim, or $2.2 billion, to argue its case. The shares slumped on that news, but have since recovered to near three-month highs.
The shares traded 0.1% higher at the close in Johannesburg.
MultiChoice is challenging the penalty imposed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, which said the owner of the DSTV service skipped taxes and denied auditor’s access to its servers. The $4.4 billion claims are well above the company’s market value of about $3.8 billion.
Appealing a major tax claim in Nigeria worked for fellow South African giant MTN Group Ltd., which owns Nigeria’s biggest mobile phone provider and has battled several multi-million dollar disputes with the country’s authorities. Those included a $2 billion tax bill in 2018, which was eventually dropped more than a year later.