Tcell appeals illegal tax claim in Tajikistan

The Tajik operator Tcell has appealed what is considered to be an illegal tax claim. The authorities in Tajikistan are basing their tax claim on revenue that Tcell has never generated, so called “un-realized revenue”. Tcell and its advisors are of the opinion that there is no legislative support in the Tajik Tax Code.

The claim is for MTJS 155 (circa 178 MSEK) including penalties and interests and it follows a tax audit for the period May 2015 to June 2016 made by the Tajik tax authority. As a comparison this is more than the EBITDA-result for 2015. Should Tcell not be successful in its appeal it would put very severe financial strain on Tcell.

“We are very concerned with the situation which we believe is totally unacceptable,” says Emil Nilsson, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Region Eurasia.

In September Telia Company announced that it had signed an agreement to sell its 60 percent holding in Central Asian Telecommunications Development B.V.CATD, which controls CJSC “Indigo Tajikistan” (Tcell), to the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), which currently holds 40 percent.

At the time of signing the transaction was expected to close by the end of the year (2016) subject to necessary regulatory approval. Currently it is difficult to project when that will happen, as the time period for the necessary approval has expired without any clear response from the relevant authority.