MTN drags FIRS to tribunal over taxation of N330bn fine.

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MTN Nigeria says there is a technical disagreement between it and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), on how the 2015 fine should be treated for tax purposes.

Onome Okwah, MTN’s corporate affairs manager, made this known in a statement released on Friday.

Okwah said MTN has taken the matter to the tax tribunal set up by the FIRS chairman and minister of finance even though it has paid the money to FIRS.

“MTN remains fully compliant with the Nigerian tax laws and will abide by the findings of the tribunal,” he said.

“The company is committed to meeting its fiscal responsibilities and contributing to the social and economic development of Nigeria.

“Since incorporation in 2001, MTN has invested more than N2 trillion in the Nigerian economy and has paid more than N1.7 trillion in taxes, levies and other regulatory fees.”

NAN reports that Babatunde Fowler, the FIRS chairman, recently accused MTN of deducting tax from the N330 billion fine paid to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Fowler maintained that fines and penalties for regulatory infractions were revenues paid to the federal government and should not be subjected to any tax deduction.

NCC had, in October 2015, imposed a N1.04 trillion fine on the telecommunications giant for alleged non-compliance with the deadline set by the commission to disconnect all unregistered SIM cards.

The regulator reduced the fine to N780 billion in December 2015, having taken into consideration the stability of the telecommunication sector.

The fine was further reduced to N330 billion after MTN had agreed to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).