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Nigeria: LM Ericsson wins N427.62m tax appeal against Bauchi

| February 28, 2014 More

WorldStage Newsonline– The Northeast Tax Appeal Tribunal sitting in Bauchi on Thursday upheld a N427,627,849.61 appeal filed by  L.M. Ericsson, a telecommunication service provider against Bauchi state Internal Revenue Board.

Hon. Halima Sa’adiya Mohammed on behalf Tax Appeal Tribunal chairman Hon. Suleman Audu, in a 47 minute judgment declared that, Bauchi State Internal Revenue Board  failed to prove satisfactorily that the appellant- L.M. Ericsson maintained a presence in Bauchi from 1998 to 2008.

The tribunal upheld that ‘’the Best of Judgment (BOJ) raised against Ericsson does not conform to the requirement of the law as such is a complete misrepresentation of facts’’ citing several legal authorities.

It also said “the appellant is only liable to pay tax to the respondent only from 2009 to 2011.@

The Tax tribunal further upheld that ‘’the purported assessment and Best of Judgment (BOJ) charged on the appellant (LM Ericsson Nig.Ltd) in the period 1998 to 2008 has no basis in law and accordingly same is here hereby dismissed’’.

LM Ericsson in an appeal dated February 14, 2013, dragged the Bauchi tax body to the Tribunal on its dissatisfaction over Tax Assessment, Demand Notice and the decision of the Board restrain its business and asked the tribunal to the respondent’s tax demand was unlawful.

It asked the Tribunal for a perpetual injunction restraining the Bauchi revenue board from further attempts to assess or distain its business in respect of any tax for the period of 1998 to 2008.

Counsel to Ericsson, Mr. Olumide Daniel Bidemi in a 38 paragraph affidavit, sworn to by Ms. Ominiyi Adejoro, presented one witness and tendered 8 documents to support his argument that his client had no business in Bauchi between1998 and 2008 as claimed by the state revenue board.

He however submitted that Ericsson maintained some staff in Bauchi from 2009 to 2011, whose tax obligation amounted to N22,946,604:52, but has been paid.

Ericsson contended that the’’ tax board cannot in any case ask for the recovery of a debt where the Nigerian law has set a limitation of 6 years in relation to the computation of time for the [purpose of limitation of action citing many legal authorities.

But A.R. Sabo Esq. counsel to Bauchi state Internal Revenue Board also quoting legal precedents said, ’’statute of limitation cannot avail the appellant, as a valid acknowledgement of debt has the effect reviving cause of action that would have been statute barred.’’

This, the tribune overruled that in tax cases, there is no debt that is statute barred since the revenue belongs to the commonwealth of the state. And accordingly, upheld L.M.Ericsson’s appeal.

The Tribunal, however, asked any dissatisfied party with the decision to appeal on a point of law to the federal High Court upon giving notice in writing to its secretary within 30 days from the date of its judgment.

While counsel to L.M Ericsson Olumide Bidemi expressed satisfaction with the tribunal’s decision describing it as ’an excellent judgment’’, he said ‘’we are also ready for any subsequent action should the respondent feel different’’.

But AR Sabo, for the Bauchi Internal Revenue Board said’’ I have to consult with my client before any taking any action’’.

Category: Bauchi State News

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