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Ecobank to appeal tribunal judgement on tax liability

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Ecobank Nigeria says it will appeal a judgement delivered by the Lagos zone tax tribunal that it has an outstanding tax liability of N1.6 billion to be paid to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

In a statement released on Thursday and sent to The Witness, the bank said its tax liability based on the judgement delivered is N1.3 billion not N1.6 billion as claimed by the FIRS.

“Ecobank Nigeria wishes to provide its position on a statement released by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on the judgement of the tax appeal tribunal (TAT), sitting in Lagos in respect of disputed tax liability between the bank and the FIRS for the 2015 financial year,” the statement read.

“For purposes of clarity, the decision of the TAT was for the bank to pay excess dividend tax on the dividend sum of N5,545,000,000 declared by the bank from its 2015 financial accounts. Based on the decision of the TAT, the excess dividend tax liability is N1,311,673,367 and not N1.6 billion.

“The bank will be appealing to the federal high court against the decision of the TAT as it believes, based on advice from its professional consultants, that the dividend declared relates to income from sources which are statutorily exempt from tax by virtue of the companies income tax ( exemption of bonds and short term government securities) order, 2011.”

Ecobank said its position is based on the principle that “income established to be exempt from companies income tax should not contrary to the intendment of the law, be subjected to the same tax it was intended to be exempt from”.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the FIRS had said the tax appeal tribunal ruled in its favour ordering Ecobank to pay N1.66 billion excess dividend tax for the 2015 financial year.

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