Tribunal orders counsel to draft terms of settlement in alleged double taxation suit

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Glory Abuh-Adejoh

Abuja – The Tax Appeal Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Friday ordered counsel in a suit of alleged double taxation to draft terms of settlement to speed up the process of settlement.

The suit which was instituted by a company, “M FIFTEEN” Consultants Limited against the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and two others was slated on Friday for report of settlement.

The company who dragged the FIRS, before the Tax Appeal Tribunal over alleged double taxation said it was dissatisfied with the FIRS assessments of it’s Tax Liability.

Also joined in the suit are the Independent Electoral Commission ( INEC) and the Nigeria Police.

At the last adjourned date, counsel informed the Tribunal that parties had started and were currently taking steps to settle out of court.

At the resumed sitting of the Tribunal on Friday, the Chairman of the tribunal, Mrs Alice Iriogbe, ordered the appellant’s counsel, Mr Ifebunachi Onwe, the position of the settlement.

Onwe in response said parties were still talking but had not reached a conclusion.

When asked, the second respondent (INEC) counsel, Mr Nnamdi Nwaiwu, also said that was the position of things.

Iriogbe then sought to know the number of times parties had met and the counsel said the parties met once.

The Chairman further said the parties ought to have included counsel representing all them in the meeting.

She therefore directed that the counsel needed to be involved in the negotiations to enable them draft terms of settlement to speed up the process.

She concluded by giving parties September to finalize settlement and adjourned the matter until Oct. 10 for report of settlement.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the company in its complaints said that it was dissatisfied with an intent letter by the FIRS imposing a tax liability of N14. 662 million on it without due consideration of all the material and available facts.

The company further stated that the N7. 9 million captured as part of the tax liability have already been deducted at source by the FIRS and the police from the contract sum of the appellant.

The company argued that it would amount to double taxation if FIRS expected the appellant to pay same again.

It therefore sought the order of the tribunal to declare as null and void, the intent letter by FIRS dated April 7, 2014 .

The company also sought an order of the tribunal directing INEC and the Police to show evidence of remittances to FIRS of the sums deducted from the payments made by the appellant in respect of contract executed.

The appellant also asked the tribunal to direct that ,credit should be given to the appellant in respect of the tax deductions made on payments due to it from the INEC and the Police totaling N7. 9 million.

The company further sought an order directing FIRS to issue it a tax clearance certificate which was withheld for the 2006 to 2011 year of assessment 

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