Access Bank pays N240m to settle Kaduna State tax dispute, UBA, ARM Pensure fights on
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, 000,000 into the coffers of the state government. 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. These were disclosed before the North West Zone of the Tax Appeal Tribunal, holden in Kaduna, presided over by Umar Mohammed Adamu as Chairman, Prof. Kabir Isa Dandago, Prof. Ahmed S, Bayero, Prof. Ahmed Kumshe and Hajiya Sameera Abubakar Gwandu. 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 (six hundred and eighteen million, one hundred and ninety one thousand, eight naira, ninety one kobo only).
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, Umar M. Adamu informed 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”. He 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. He urged 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 sentiment was echoed 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 Sheikh O. Ahmed. the State Coordinator of the Federal Inland Revenue Service in Kaduna State and senior members of his team, which included 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 emphasised the need of all critical stakeholders to bring their disputes to the Tribunal. He stated that the Tribunal was 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, taxes due from him.