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Tax Dispute: Access Bank Pays N240Mn To Kaduna Govt

In furtherance of the desire to resolve its tax dispute with the Kaduna State Government amicably, Access Bank Plc has paid the sum of N240 million into the coffers of the state government.

The payment by the lender was made known by the bank to the North West Zone of the Tax Appeal Tribunal, holden in Kaduna, headed by Umar Mohammed Adamu as Chairman, Prof. Kabir Isa Dandago, Prof. Ahmed S, Bayero, Prof. Ahmed Kumshe and Hajiya Sameera Abubakar Gwandu.

It would be recalled that Access Bank Plc had on December 1, 2020 filed an appeal against an additional
assessment raised by the Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service, in the sum of N618,191,008.91k.

The said assessment, raised on the 18th of August 2020, formed the crux of their Appeal, before the Tax Appeal Tribunal.

Addressing the Panel, at the continued hearing of the matter, Counsel to the Appellants (Access Bank PLC), M. H Mustapha, informed the Tribunal, “that despite the pendency of the matter before the Tribunal, parties were also exploring how the matter could be resolved amicably and that based on that principle, they had reached out to the Respondents and in furtherance of their intention to resolve all
issues, paid to the Respondent, the sum of N240,000.000”.

Confirming same, Ayesha Ahmed, Counsel to the Respondent, stated that “the sum of N240,000,000 was received from the Appellants in two equal instalments of N120,000,000 each, but that though the parties were making progress, they still had a lot of issues outstanding and requiring further deliberations and hopefully further payments, which would hopefully lead to the settlement of the pending issues before the next adjournment”.

Both parties then sought a fairly long adjournment to settle the pending issues.

Turning down the application for a long adjournment, Chairman of the Tribunal, told the parties, that he could not indulge them with a long adjournment.

“That speedy resolutions of Tax Disputes, was the core mandate of the Tax Appeal Tribunal, a speedy and fair resolution of all disputes pending before the Tribunal, was key to the operations of the TAT”.

The judge reminded the parties that no matter had remained on the list for more than 12 months, with some Appeals resolved in less than 90 days and urged the parties to remain on their toes, as taxes were the lifeblood of the state and the Country and the slow resolution of disputes would practically make the Taxman, a hangman, were tax disputes permitted to last forever.

The same view was expressed by all other members of the Tribunal, who urged the parties to return in the shortest possible time to either report settlement or continue with the hearing of their disputes.

In continuation of stakeholders’ engagement within the Zone, the tribunal members led by the Chairman, paid a visit to the State Coordinator of the Federal Inland Revenue Service in Kaduna State, Mallam Sheikh Ahmed, and senior members of his team, including Sulaiman Abubakar, the State Head of Legal and Prosecution.

The Tax Appeal Tribunal members also visited the Chairman of the Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service, Dr Zaid Mohammed.

At both meetings, the Tribunal Chairman emphasized the need of all critical stakeholders to bring their disputes to the Tribunal, adding that the Tribunal is not created for only dissatisfied taxpayers but also for aggrieved revenue bodies, seeking the interpretation of tax legislation, its applicability, or simply to recover from a taxpayer the taxes due.

Meanwhile, the United Bank of Africa (UBA) Plc and ARM Pensure Limited have opted to continue the hearing of their tax disputes with the Kaduna State Government.

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