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MTN Ghana disputes GH¢8billion tax liability

BY: Kwame Larweh
MTN Ghana disputes GH¢8billion tax liability
Selorm Adadevoh - MTN Ghana CEO

Scancom PLC, owners of MTN Ghana has pushed back on an alleged tax infringement placed on the company by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) between 2014 and 2018.

The telecommunications company says it is a tax compliant corporate citizen and the tax liability notice of GH¢8,209,603,842.14 (US$773 million) issued against it by the GRA is unacceptable.

The assessment of GH¢8,209,603,842.14 includes penalties and interest charges.

In this regard, from the base component of the Assessment (that is, excluding penalties and interest), on MTN Ghana’s analysis, the GRA infers that MTN Ghana under declared its revenue by more than approximately 30 percent over the 5-year period - 2014 to 2018.

Assessment notice

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) issued MTN Ghana with a notice of assessment of tax liability (the Assessment) dated January 10, 2023.

MTN says it received the notice on January 11, 2023.

On January 13, 2023, GRA issued a temporary withdrawal of the Notice of Assessment for 21 days to allow for further engagements.

In a press statement issued in Accra today (Jan 13, 2023), MTN Ghana welcomed the further engagement decision by the GRA to further assess the matter.

"MTN Ghana believes that taxes due have been paid during the period under assessment," it said.

Background

The GRA audited MTN Ghana for the period 2014-2018, using a third-party consultant as well as a new methodology based on call data records (CDR), recharges, and other data.

The audit which commenced in 2019 had the objective to give assurance on the reliability and completeness of revenues declared by MTN Ghana for the purpose of tax computation for the period 2014 to 2018.

MTN Ghana says it "strongly disputes the accuracy and basis of the Assessment, including the methodology used in conducting the audit."

In May 2021, after consultations and discussions between MTN Ghana, MTN Group, the Ministry of Finance and the GRA, the parties agreed to an independent review by a global professional services firm which, MTN says it fully co-operated with in September 2021 under the auspices of the GRA.

“The independent review found that it was unable to support the conclusions reached by the GRA’s third-party consultants as the basis for the Assessment,” the release stated.

MTN noted that the GRA had not issued it with any prior guidelines and standards relating to the new CDR sequence-based methodology used for the audit.

“In this regard, from the base component of the assessment; that is, excluding penalties and interest, on MTN Ghana’s analysis, the GRA infers that MTN Ghana under declared its revenue by more than approximately 30% over the 5-year period 2014 to 2018,” the statement said.

According to MTN, it is a responsible corporate entity with absolute commitment to transparency, good corporate governance, and compliance.

MTN Ghana and MTN Group says they will provide further information at an investor conference call to be held on Monday, January 16, 2023 at 13.00 (GMT).