MTN: Appeal against tax ruling dismissed

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Mauritius-registered MTN International lost an appeal against a tax ruling in the Supreme Court of Appeal on Friday. The dispute was over whether or not a revised assessment by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) for the tax year 2006 should be set aside. MTN had previously claimed interest on loans it incurred as expenditure in terms of the Income Tax Act, against its gross income in the year of assessment. On March 31, 2011, which was the last day before the original assessment by Sars was due to expire, Sars raised the revised assessment and disallowed the interest expenditure. As a result, MTN incurred an income tax liability of R73.4 million. At the time Sars raised the revised assessment, a revenue office employee manually fixed the date as March 30, 2011. MTN applied to have the high court set aside the assessment because the manipulation of the dates was irregular and unlawful. Sars said the date change had no consequence on the validity of the assessment. The appeal was dismissed with costs. MTN closed 1.22 percent up at R207.91 on Friday. – Asha Speckman

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