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ACORN PETROLEUM IN N226M UNPAID TAX SAGA …FIRS BATTLES


 
Federal inland revenue service (FIRS) in a counter claim filed before a Federal high court in Lagos south west Nigeria against the claim of Acorn Petroleum PLC is urging the court to order the Petroleum company to pay the sun of N226,561446.56 being its outstanding tax liabilities and another N10million as the cost of the  counter claim legal action.
The counter claim of the FIRS was as a result of the claim of Acorn Petroleum company filed before the court, while not denying owing or be in arrears of tax payment, is urging the court to order FIRS to allow the company to pay its tax liability in installment and in the most convenient manner.
       In its claim filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer Eubena Amedu, the company alleged that on 6th of March, 2014 it received several demand letters from FIRS relating to re-assessed tax liabilities computed by FIRS in respect of Withholding tax in the sun of N72,214,837.04, Value Added Tax in the sum of N65,430,167.66,Companies income tax in the sum of N92,767,318.03 and Education tax in the sum of N 20,430,466.33
         Thereafter the company paid N20million and made proposal to pay the balance by installments but the FRIS refused, rather the company received a demand letter dated 20th of November, 2015 ordering the company to pay within seven days or face all the sanctions prescribed by the tax laws in Nigeria, including prosecution.
    Consequently the company is urging the court to restrain the FIRS and its agents from carrying out the threat of enforcement contained in its  letter.
      However FIRS in its statement of defence filed before the court by Barrister Jerome  Okoro averred that Acorn petroleum by its tax defaults incurred penalty and interest  as reflected in the notices of Assessment for Company income Tax, Education Tax, Value added tax and withholding tax issued on 6th March, 2014.The company has been defaulting in discharge of its tax obligations since 2011.therefore the company's proposal for instalments payment was not acceptable to the defendant and demanded that the tax liabilities be liquidated in three monthly instalments which it fail to do.
     The plaintiff contended that failure to pay the tax within a period of one month is an offence attracting prosecution of the defaulting tax payer by the defendant
     Consequently FIRS contended that Acorn Petroleum suit is baseless, frivolous, vexatious and merely a time wasting scheme calculated to delay the company's discharge of its lawful obligation to pay tax, therefore should be dismissed.
        The presiding judge, Saliu Saidu has adjourned the suit till after the court vacation for hearing.

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