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Taxation Regime (for Bangladeshis and Foreigners) in Bangladesh

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NBR wants to tax external income of doctors and lawyers

 Meraj Mavis

 Published at 08:28 pm September 1st, 2021

Doctors and lawyers are advised to ask for a money receipt in exchange for the services provided from now on, to get an accurate account of the money taken from the service recipients

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is trying to get an accurate account of doctors and lawyers’ income. They even asked for the advice of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to resolve this issue.  

Doctors and lawyers have been paying income tax as they wish for a long time now, with the NBR not having proper accounts in their hands about their external income.

The ACC has recently sent a letter to NBR, expressing its suggestions and recommendations.

The letter sent by the ACC to the NBR chairman requested that actions be taken under the Income Tax Ordinance of 1984 to impose a tax on the income of lawyers and doctors.

In addition, doctors and lawyers are advised to ask for a money receipt in exchange for the services provided from now on, to get an accurate account of the money taken from the service recipients.

According to NBR sources, it does not have any specific information about the doctors and lawyers who do not have a TIN. As a result, these two categories of specialised professionals have been hiding their real income for a long time.

An NBR official told Dhaka Tribune that the income of the two professionals was not yet clear to everyone. Although they are among the highest educated class in society, most of them have a tendency to evade income tax. 

“We also agree with ACC’s advice. The decision may come soon with the final instructions on keeping money receipts for outdoor earnings in these two professions,” the source said.

ACC Secretary Anwar Hossain Hawlader told the media: “We want doctors and lawyers to accept the money they receive from clients through receipts. In this way, it will be easier for NBR to keep track of their income.”

Confirming the letter, the ACC secretary also added that it would make it easier to update the tax file. The government's revenue will increase. This is an observation of the commission. “A letter has been sent to NBR informing them about this,” he said. 

Economist and financial adviser to the former caretaker government AB Mirza Azizul Islam also agreed with the NBR and the ACC advice. 

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, he said that lawyers and doctors earn a good amount of money by serving clients outside their primary job location. 

“However, they are not interested in paying proper income tax from this money. The government has been indifferent about this for so long. In this way, a large amount of money becomes undisclosed income,” AB Mirza Azizul said. 

“Since lawyers and doctors accept money without a receipt, there is no way to know whether the actual income information is coming in their income tax returns,” he added.

According to the NBR’s latest data, out of 5.6 million taxpayers who have registered in the FY2020-21, 31.69 million taxpayers did not file income tax returns. 

It means, 56.60% of the registered taxpayers did not file tax returns.

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নাসির গ্লাস ইন্ডাস্ট্রিজ লিমিটেড এর ১৪.৬৬ কোটি টাকার ভ্যাট ফাঁকি উদঘাটন — ভ্যাট গোয়েন্দার তদন্ত 

 এফই অনলাইন প্রতিবেদন | Published:  September 02, 2021 16:08:09 | Updated:  September 02, 2021 18:13:43

ভ্যাট গোয়েন্দা অধিদপ্তর বৃহৎ গ্লাস উৎপাদনকারী নাসির গ্লাস ইন্ডাস্ট্রিজ লিমিটেড এর ব্যবসায়িক কার্যক্রম তদন্ত করে প্রায় ১৪.৬৬ কোটি টাকার ভ্যাট ফাঁকি উদঘাটন করেছে। ভ্যাট ফাঁকির প্রমাণ পাওয়ায় উৎপাদনকারী প্রতিষ্ঠানটির বিরুদ্ধে ভ্যাট আইনে মামলা দায়ের করা হয়েছে। 

নাসির গ্লাস ইন্ডাস্ট্রিজ লিমিটেড, ৮৫ সরওয়ার্দী এভিনিউ, বারীধারা, ঢাকা-১২১২ এ নিবন্ধিত।এর ভ্যাট নিবন্ধন নং-০০১২২৫১৬৪-০১০৩। প্রতিষ্ঠানের কারখানা নগর হাওলা(জৈনাবাজার), শ্রীপুর, গাজীপুর এ অবস্থিত।

ভ্যাট গোয়েন্দার সহকারী পরিচালক জনাব মোঃ মাহিদুল ইসলাম এর নেতৃত্বে একটি দল জুলাই/২০১৪ হতে জুন/২০১৮ পর্যন্ত তদন্তটি পরিচালনা করে।

প্রতিষ্ঠানটির দাখিলকৃত সি এ ফার্ম কর্তৃক প্রদত্ত বার্ষিক অডিট প্রতিবেদন, দাখিলপত্র (মূসক-১৯) এবং বিভিন্ন সময়ে প্রতিষ্ঠান কর্তৃক জমাকৃত ট্রেজারি চালানের কপি/ অন্যান্য দলিলাদি হতে প্রাপ্ত তথ্য-উপাত্তের আড়াআড়ি যাচাই/ পর্যালোচনা করে মামলার প্রতিবেদন প্রস্তুত করা হয়েছে। এছাড়া তদন্তকালীন প্রতিষ্ঠানের আত্মপক্ষ সমর্থনে বিভিন্ন তথ্যাদি ও বক্তব্য আমলে নেয়া হয়েছে।

তদন্ত মেয়াদে প্রতিষ্ঠান কর্তৃক সিএ ফার্ম কর্তৃক প্রণীত অডিট রিপোর্টের ভিত্তিতে ভ্যাট এর হিসাব অনুসারে প্রতিষ্ঠানটি ২,০৯,০৯,৮৩৩ টাকা ভ্যাট পরিশোধ করেছে; কিন্তু প্রতিষ্ঠানটির প্রদেয় মূসকের পরিমাণ ছিল ৫,২৯,১২,৯৩৮ টাকা।এক্ষেত্রে প্রতিষ্ঠানটির অপরিশোধিত মূসক বাবদ ৩,২০,০৩,১০৫ টাকা ভ্যাট ফাঁকি উৎঘাটন করা হয়। এই ফাঁকির উপর ভ্যাট আইন অনুসারে মাস ভিত্তিক ২% হারে ১,৫২,০২,৮৩৪ টাকা সুদ টাকা প্রযোজ্য।এক্ষেত্রে দেখা যায়, নাসির গ্লাস প্রকৃত বিক্রয় তথ্য গোপন করে ভ্যাট ফাঁকির সহিত জড়িত হয়েছে।

তাছাড়া তদন্ত মেয়াদে প্রদেয় ও চলতি হিসাবের পার্থক্য, সোডিয়াম সালফেট অতিরিক্ত ব্যবহারের উপর রেয়াত কর্তন, প্রাকৃতিক গ্যাস অতিরিক্ত ব্যবহারের উপর রেয়াত কর্তন, বিজ্ঞাপন অতিরিক্ত ব্যবহারের উপর রেয়াত কর্তন, মিক্সার গ্যাস অতিরিক্ত ব্যবহারের উপর রেয়াত কর্তন, উপকরণ মূল্য ৭.৫% এর অধিক বৃদ্ধি পাওয়ায় রেয়াত কর্তন, নির্ধারিত সময় অতিক্রান্ত হওয়ার কারণে রেয়াত কর্তন, ঘোষণায় করযোগ্য মূল্যভিত্তির মধ্যে অন্তর্ভূক্ত না থাকায় রেয়াত কর্তন এর কারণে প্রতিষ্ঠানের নানা অনিয়ম পাওয়া গেছে। অধিকন্তু, আমদানি পণ্য (স্পেয়ার পার্টস) ক্রয় রেজিস্টারে এন্ট্রি না করে খোলা বাজারে বিক্রি করায় রাজস্ব বাবদ প্রতিষ্ঠানটি কোন ভ্যাট পরিশোধ করেনি। এক্ষেত্রে প্রতিষ্ঠানটির অপরিশোধিত মূসক বাবদ ৮,০১,৭৯,০১৪ টাকা ভ্যাট ফাঁকি উৎঘাটন করা হয়। এই ফাঁকির উপর কিছু কিছু ক্ষেত্রে ভ্যাট আইন অনুসারে মাস ভিত্তিক ২% হারে ১,৯১,৯৯,২২০ টাকা সুদ টাকা প্রযোজ্য।

তদন্ত মেয়াদে প্রতিষ্ঠানটি সর্বমোট অপরিশোধিত মূসক এর পরিমাণ ১১,২১,৮২,১১৯ টাকা এবং সুদ বাবদ ৩,৪৪,০২,০৫৪ টাকাসহ ১৪,৬৫,৮৪,১৭৩ টাকা পরিহারের তথ্য উদঘাটিত হয়।

তদন্তে উদ্ঘাটিত পরিহারকৃত মূসক আদায়ের আইনানুগ পরবর্তী কার্যক্রম গ্রহণসহ মামলাটি নিষ্পত্তির জন্য সংশ্লিষ্ট ভ্যাট কমিশনারেট ঢাকা উত্তরে প্রেরণ করা হয়েছে। একইসাথে প্রতিষ্ঠানের কার্যক্রম আরো মনিটরিং করার জন্যও সংশ্লিষ্ট ভ্যাট কমিশনারকে অনুরোধ করা হয়েছে। 

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Microbuses now cheaper

 FE REPORT | Published:  September 02, 2021 09:05:31


The import of petrol-run microbus becomes cheaper as the government reduced its supplementary duty (SD) by 10 percent to facilitate transportation.

Sources in business circles said around 200 of 10-15-seated microbuses currently remained stuck at the port since July 1, 2021 on a demand for cutbacks on the import tax.

The customs wing of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) lowered the SD to 20 per cent from 30 per cent for these microbuses through issuing a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO).

The reduced rate came into effect from August 29, 2021.

In the budget for the current fiscal year (FY), the NBR cut SD for only diesel-run 10-15-seater microbuses.

A senior customs official said the HS code for petrol-run microbus, a widely used public transport, has been dropped unintentionally in the finance act 2021.

"We have now included those vehicles under the reduced SD facility," he added.

Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicle Importers and Dea-lers Association (Barvida) president Md Abdul Haque said petrol-run microbus is the most- used one, 98 per cent, compared to diesel-run vehicles.

In Mongla and Chattogram seaports, more than two hundred petrol-run microbuses are waiting for the latest SRO of customs on slashing the tax.

He said a total of 78 petrol-run microbuses had been released paying 30 percent SD since July 1, 2021.

"The importers should get refund of their paid additional 10 per cent SD for the sake of justice as prices of the vehicles will be same at the consumer level," he said.

The BARVIDA would place demand with the government high-ups for refund of the SD as additional taxes, he added.

In the post-budget conference, the reconditioned vehicle importers demanded full withdrawal of SD on the import of 10-15-seater microbuses.

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Revenue board plugs hole to stop VAT evasion

 DOULOT AKTER MALA | Published:  September 05, 2021 08:30:19 | Updated:  September 05, 2021 10:55:25

Government's revenue authority has issued new directives to check VAT evasion and also simplify the process of business operations of cigarette companies, who, nevertheless, pay a king's ransom to the exchequer.

The Value Added Tax (VAT) policy wing under the National Board of Revenue (NBR), avowedly to plug the hole, defined anew the way of transfer of raw materials, machinery, spare parts or supply of manufactured cigarettes from one unit to another of a same company.

It issued an instruction to all of its VAT offices across the country to follow it, allowing cigarette companies to transfer or supply their products from one unit to another and obtain one VAT registration for relevant wings of a factory.

The directive came into effect from August 31, 2021.

In the budget for current financial year, the NBR has barred the cigarette companies from obtaining central VAT registration along with imposing some new regulations.

If a cigarette-manufacturing company under same ownership has multiple production units, it will have to obtain separate VAT registration for each of the units.

The processes created some complexities on operation of businesses due to unclear method of following it, officials said.

The new directives would check VAT evasion as well as simplify the process of business of the companies.

Under the directive, the cigarette companies will be allowed to operate businesses under one Business Identification Number (BIN) or VAT registration for its factory, leaf- processing unit, depot/warehouse etc.

"As cigarette companies pay all types of taxes at manufacturing stages, they would be allowed to obtain single VAT registration for its relevant units along with factory," it said.

The companies will be able to transfer their machinery, equipment, spare parts from one unit to another by giving declaration of zero VAT and Supplementary duty in a prescribed form of the NBR, it added.

Officials said due to restrictions in central VAT registrations for some companies, including cigarette manufacturers, the VAT is applicable to transferring goods from one unit to another of same companies against their respective BINs.

Absence of any guideline also left field-level VAT officials in a quandary as to whether they should demand VAT and SD from those companies, they added.

On the other hand, there is a scope of evading VAT by shifting goods to other companies concealing actual production data.

In the directive, the NBR said any types of deduction of VAT at source, if applicable, have to be done against supply of products to the leaf-processing, depot, warehouse or other units under the BIN of the factory of the cigarette-manufacturing companies.

"A cigarette-manufacturing company will be able to supply their produced goods in its separate factories to the market from any of its depots or warehouses," the directive says.

In case of bonded-warehouse facility, the company will have to pay applicable duty-taxes on in-bond raw materials to transfer their goods from one factory to another one.

The tobacco companies paid Tk 270 billion last FY as a largest contributor to VAT collection under Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU).

British American Tobacco Bangladesh (BATB) was the highest VAT payer with Tk 249.11 billion paid to the exchequer while United Dhaka Tobacco paid Tk 20 billion.

However, anti- tobacco activists and health experts say financial loss due to consumption of tobacco is much higher than the tax- collection data from the cigarette companies.

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Tax waivers erodes 8.0pc of Bangladesh's tax-GDP ratio

 FE REPORT | Published:  September 06, 2021 09:09:46 | Updated:  September 06, 2021 17:23:27


Tax exemptions are eroding 8.0 per cent from Bangladesh's tax-GDP ratio, but the government's revenue authority says it is necessary to spur economic growth.

Bangladesh's tax-GDP ratio is one of the lowest in the region.

The NBR chief said they were not frustrated over the ratio as the tax waivers fall within fiscal policy in the current budget with the greater goal of higher consumption by well-off middle-class people.

The country's tax-GDP ratio is currently below 9.0 per cent which could have been 17 per cent if the government refrained from offering exemption, admitted NBR chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem.

"We are not frustrated or concerned over the poor tax-GDP ratio of the country as our calculation before this year's national budget found that reason," the National Board of Revenue chairman said at a press briefing on the NBR premises.

Some 8.0 per cent of the total revenue collected from customs wing is being lost in the form of tax exemptions, he added.

The country's achievement on education, health, infant mortality is better than other neighbouring countries for giving tax exemption in relevant sectors.

He said fiscal policy for the current year's budget has been devised keeping in consideration increased consumption by middle-income group of people.

"To reduce import-dependency for the goods mainly consumed by middle-income group, the revenue board has offered a wide range of tax exemption to popularize 'Made in Bangladesh' slogan," he added.

Waiver for home-appliance manufacturers would help in the growth of domestic industry, he said for an instance regarding the shift in economic pivot during the corona crisis that squeezed external trade worldwide.

"We won't let other countries target our middle-class consumers (with their products)," he said.

The tax-benefit has been offered for a longer period to facilitate investors in framing their future plans, he noted.

Responding to a query, the NBR chairman said taxmen would not go for any harsh measure for people who have Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) but did not submit tax returns in compliance with the law.

Although tax-return submission made mandatory for all TIN-holders, taxpayers have yet to get habituated to doing this, he said about the logic behind leniency.

"Not enforcement but awareness would get priority. If it does not work, later they would be brought under law," he added.

He said the government has yet to decide whether it would organize income-tax fair this year on a large scale.

In case of not holding tax fairs, the tax zones will arrange tax fair-like environment on their respective premises like in previous years.

On lottery for Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD), he said mass campaign and awareness is imperative to make it successful as people are not claiming the prizes (on account of paying value-added tax).

Although the NBR has decided to honour 100 consumers on their EFD invoices, it could hand over prizes to less than 20 persons in a month during the last eight lotteries.

NBR member of VAT wing Dr Abdul Mannan Sikder said the lottery programme is gaining momentum gradually. Daily more than 80,000 invoices through EFDMS are being generated.

"Feedback of EFDMS is encouraging and we are planning to honour some businesses with certificates of appreciation next month for using EFDMs," he said.

The NBR chairman said they are thinking about some alternatives to ensure VAT collection from retail businesses.

Director-General of NBR research and statistics wing Md Anwar Hossain gave a detailed presentation on 'Revenue Mobilization Work-plan' of the NBR at the programme.

He said revenue collection had grown 500 per cent in the last thirteen years of the present government's rule.

In FY 2008-09, the NBR collected revenue worth Tk 525.27 billion that jumped to Tk 2.59 trillion in FY 2020-21.


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ভ্যানচালকসহ হতদরিদ্র ৪ পরিবারকে আয়কর জমা দিতে নোটিশ

নিজস্ব প্রতিবেদক, বরিশাল

০৭ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০২১, ০৫:২৮ পিএম


ভুক্তভোগী চার নারী

হতদরিদ্র চার পরিবারকে আয়কর পরিশোধের নোটিশ দিয়েছে বরিশাল উপ কর কমিশনারের কার্যালয়। যাদের নামে আয় কর পরিশোধের নোটিশ দেওয়া হয়েছে তারা নিজেরাই সরকারি সাহায্য সহযোগিতা নিয়ে জীবনযাবন করেন বলে জানিয়েছেন স্থানীয় ইউপি চেয়ারম্যান। এ ঘটনায় এলাকায় চাঞ্চল্য সৃষ্টি হয়েছে। বরিশালের গৌরনদী উপজেলার মাহিলাড়া ইউনিয়নে এ ঘটনা ঘটেছে। 

যদিও কর কমিশনারের কার্যালয় থেকে জানানো হয়েছে, অন্য কেউ এই চারজনের জাতীয় পরিচয়পত্র ব্যবহার করে ই-টিআইএন রেজিস্ট্রেশন করেছেন। এজন্য তাদের নামে নোটিশ গেছে। নির্ধারিত সময়ের মধ্যে সংশ্লিষ্ট দফতরে যোগাযোগ না করা হলে তাদের জরিমানা গুনতে হবে।

উপজেলা নির্বাহী কর্মকর্তা বিপীন চন্দ্র বিশ্বাস মঙ্গলবার (০৭ সেপ্টেম্বর) জানিয়েছেন, হতদরিদ্র ওই পরিবারগুলো আমার কাছে এসেছিল। আমি তাদের কথা শুনেছি এবং কর কমিশনারের সঙ্গে কথা বলেছি। পরিবার চারটি যেন আয়কর পরিশোধ থেকে মুক্ত হন তার প্রয়োজনীয় ব্যবস্থা গ্রহণ করা হচ্ছে।

জানা গেছে, উপজেলার শরিফাবাদ গ্রামের ভ্যানচালক কবির ইসলাম বেপারীর স্ত্রী গৃহিণী কল্পনা বেগম এবং দিনমজুর মহসিন বেপারীর স্ত্রী সুবর্না মোহসিনের নামে গত ২৮ জুলাই নোটিশ আসে। ওই গ্রামের বাসিন্দা মাহিন্দ্রাচালক ফারুক হোসেনের স্ত্রী সেলিনা বেগমের নামে ২২ আগস্ট এবং বিল্বগ্রাম এলাকার দিনমজুর চাঁন মিয়া সরদারের স্ত্রী গৃহিণী মনোয়ারা বেগমের নামে ২৪ আগস্ট নোটিশ আসে। বরিশাল উপ কর কমিশনারের কার্যালয় (বৈতনিক) থেকে উপ কর কমিশনার স্বাক্ষরিত নোটিশগুলো বিভিন্ন তারিখে ইস্যু করা হয়।

এর মধ্যে কল্পনা বেগম ও সুবর্না মহসিনকে আয়কর অধ্যাদেশ ১৯৮৪ সালের ১২৪ ধারায় কেন জরিমানা করা হবে না তার কারণ দর্শানোর জন্য ১৯৮৪ সালের আয়কর অধ্যাদেশের ১৩০ ধারায় ১২ সেপ্টেম্বরের মধ্যে নির্দেশ দেওয়া হয়। এছাড়াও মনোয়ারা বেগমকে কেন জরিমানা করা হবে না তার কারণ দর্শানোর জন্য ৭ সেপ্টেম্বরের মধ্যে জবাব দিতে বলা হয়। অন্যদিকে সেলিনা বেগমকে ২২ সেপ্টেম্বরের মধ্যে জরিমানার টাকা পরিশোধের জন্য নির্দেশ দেওয়া হয়।

সুবর্না মোহসিন বলেন, আমার স্বামী দিনমজুর। পরিবারে দুটি প্রতিবন্ধী সন্তান রয়েছে। শুধুমাত্র বসতভিটে ছাড়া আমাদের আর কোনো সম্পত্তি নেই। এখন যে ট্যাক্সের নোটিশ এসেছে তা কোথা থেকে পরিশোধ করব।

কল্পনা বেগম বলেন, আমার স্বামী ভ্যানচালক। এমন কোনো সম্পদ নেই যে আমার নামে আয়কর পরিশোধের জন্য সরকারি চিঠি ইস্যু করতে হবে। 

একই কথা বলেন বিল্বগ্রাম এলাকার দিনমজুর চান মিয়ার স্ত্রী মনোয়ারা বেগম।  

সেলিনা বেগম বলেন, আমার স্বামী মাহিন্দ্রাচালক। অথচ আমার নামে আয়কর পরিশোধের নোটিশ করা হয়েছে। এমনকি আয়কর পরিশোধ না করায় পাঁচ হাজার টাকা জরিমানা করা হয়েছে মর্মে নোটিশে উল্লেখ করা হয়েছে। 

মাহিলাড়া ইউনিয়ন পরিষদের চেয়ারম্যান সৈকত গুহ পিকলু বলেন, নোটিশপ্রাপ্ত চারজনই অতিদরিদ্র। এদের মধ্যে সুবর্না মোহসিন এবং সেলিনা বেগমের স্বামীর নামে ইউনিয়ন পরিষদ থেকে খাদ্যসহায়তা কর্মসূচির রেশন কার্ড রয়েছে। অপর দুজন গৃহিণীর স্বামী দিনমজুর। তাদেরকেও সরকারি-বেসরকারি সহযোগিতা নিয়ে চলতে হয়। তাদের আয়কর পরিশোধ করার নোটিশ মনে হয় কোথাও অসঙ্গতি রয়েছে।

কর অঞ্চলের বরিশালের উপ কর কমিশনার মো. আবুল কালাম আজাদ জানান, চারজনের এনআইডি ব্যবহার করে কেউ হয়তো আয়কর প্রদানের জন্য রেজিস্ট্রেশন করেছে। ফলে তাদেরকে কর রিটার্ন দাখিলের জন্য নোটিশ দেওয়া হয়েছে। নির্দিষ্ট সময়ে রিটার্ন দাখিল না করলে  তাদেরকে ন্যূনতম জরিমানা পাঁচ হাজার টাকা দিতে হবে। তাদের মধ্যে কেউ অফিসে এসে যোগাযোগ করলে করমুক্ত করার ব্যবস্থা করা হবে।

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Opening e-TIN with other’s NID concerns NBR

NBR framing policy to prevent offence 

Rakib Hasan | Published: 20:33, Sep 08,2021 | Updated: 22:13, Sep 08,2021

The opening of electronic tax identification number by using other’s national identification number has become a major concern for the National Board of Revenue and the revenue board is framing a policy to prevent such illegal activities, said NBR officials.

The opening of electronic tax identification number by using other’s national identification number has become a major concern for the National Board of Revenue and the revenue board is framing a policy to prevent such illegal activities, said NBR officials.

The officials said that they were crosschecking the NID information of e-TIN holders to detect the e-TIN which were opened in that illegal manner.

‘We are working with entities like land registration office, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms, banks and insurance companies to verify the validity of electronically generated TINs,’ said the officials.

According to a media report, the Barishal Deputy Tax Commissioner’s Office has recently issued notices to four extremely poor persons to pay income tax.

The persons live at Mahilara of Gournadi upazila in Barishal.

According to the media report, the tax commissioner’s office said that someone else might have obtained e-TINs using the four persons’ NID numbers and so the tax office had issued notices to the four persons for paying tax as the deadline for paying tax ended.

If they do not contact the department concerned within the stipulated time, they will have to pay fine, the tax office said.

Revenue officials said they suspect that many people used other’s NID number for opening e-TIN for various purposes like land and vehicle registration.

Regarding the Barishal incidence, NBR taxes legal and enforcement member Mahbub Hossain told New Age on Wednesday that though they were not aware about the issue, field-level tax offices have authority to serve show-cause notices to any TIN holder in the case of non-submission of tax returns.

He said the income tax law makes it mandatory for TIN holders to submit tax returns every year but most of the TIN holders evaded returns filing.

As per law, people who do not have taxable incomes but have obtained TINs for selling land and obtaining credit cards are exempted from filing returns, Mahbub said.

‘Primarily, we send a notice to a TIN holder and then assess his/her resources. If we find that he/she does not have taxable incomes, we normally cancel his/her TIN. But if the TIN holder has taxable income, we charge him/her fine for not submitting income tax,’ he said.  

The number of e-TIN holders in the country is more than 65 lakh.

Of them, only 40 per cent filed income tax returns in the past year, according to NBR data.

Mahbub said that the tax offices would impose fines and take other legal steps for not filing tax returns in the past year against those who held TINs and had filed returns in the previous years, he added.

According to Article 124 of the Income Tax Ordinance-1984, a deputy commissioner of tax may impose penalty amounting to 10 per cent of the tax imposed on the past year’s income of the taxpayer or Tk 1,000, whichever is higher, for his/her failure in filing returns without a valid reason.

A DCT will also impose a further Tk 50 in penalty for each day of delay after the deadline.

For new e-TIN holders, the penalty amount will be at the highest Tk 5,000 for failure in filing tax returns, according to the ordinance.

In the case of old individual taxpayers, the penalty amount will be 50 per cent of the past year’s payable tax or Tk 1,000, whichever is higher.

A DCT can impose the penalty after issuing notice and giving the taxpayers an opportunity to explain.

Field-level officials said that it was very difficult to trace the non-filers for various reasons, including change in address and use of fake contact numbers in TIN application.

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NBR honours highest taxpayer firms


14th September, 2021 09:29:41 PM

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) on Tuesday handed over special honour awards to the highest taxpayer firms of the country.

The Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) under the NBR today handed over these awards to some 30 highest taxpayer firms at a city hotel in the city's Siddeshwari area.

Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir attended the function as the chief guest while NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem as special guest.

Chaired by LTU Commissioner M Ikbal Hossain, NBR member (tax policy) M Alamgir Hossain, NBR member (tax administration and human resource management) Mohammad Golam Nabi were also present.

Out of these 30 highest taxpayer institutions, the banking sector recipients were Standard Chartered Bank, National Bank Ltd, Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Dutch Bangla Bank Limited, United Commercial Bank Limited, Eastern Bank Ltd, Al Alarafah Islami Bank Limited, EXIM Bank Ltd, Trust Bank Ltd, the Premier Bank Ltd, BRAC Bank Ltd and Prime Bank Ltd.

The recipients in services and other sectors are grameenphone Ltd., Shevron Bangladesh Bloc Thirteen and Fourteen Ltd., MJL Bangladesh Ltd.

The award recipients in non-banking sectors are IDLC Finance Ltd, Infrastructure Development Company Ltd.

The recipients in the insurance sector are American Life Insurance Company Ltd and Sadharan Bima Corporation.

In the manufacturing sector, the award recipients are British American Tobacco Bangladesh Ltd., Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Sheikh Akij Uddin Ltd., Uttara Motors Ltd., Uttara Automobiles Ltd., Perfect Tobacco Company Ltd., Nestle Bangladesh Ltd., Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and Olympic Industries Ltd.

Besides, the LTU also honoured the Bangladesh Bank, grameenphone Ltd., and Titas Gas Distribution Company Ltd. as the authorities for deducting tax at source.

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Sukuk gets waiver of value added tax

 DOULOT AKTER MALA | Published:  September 16, 2021 08:24:05 | Updated:  September 16, 2021 17:39:52


The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has offered tax benefit to popularise Sukuk, an Islamic financial instrument.

The waiver has been offered in a bid to make the local bond market vibrant.

The Value Added Tax (VAT) wing of the board has waived taxes on sale and purchase of assets between originator and Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) of Sukuk.

VAT applicable to rent of assets or leasing of assets between them has also been waived through issuing a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO).

The VAT wing issued the SRO, dated September 7, 2021, offering the waiver against issuance of Sukuk.

However, the NBR has imposed a condition to avail the waiver.

The issuer of Sukuk will have to obtain No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Bangladesh Bank, if needed from Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC), for formation of SPV.

Talking to the FE, a senior VAT official said the rate of VAT ranging from 7.5 per cent to 15 per cent has been waived for popularising the bond.

"The demand from the BB and the BSEC was to waive the VAT," he said.

In the budget for current Fiscal Year, the government has offered income tax exemption on Sukuk.

It has waived gain tax at a rate of 4.0 per cent on transfer of asset to the SPV.

Sukuk is akin to a treasury bond, which complies with the shariah laws.

The market size of Islamic banks is an estimated 35 per cent of the total banking sector.

Sukuk is a real asset-backed security and its issuing company will get back the asset after expiry of the leasing time or end of the term.

The VAT official said BB, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd and other future issuer of Sukuk would get benefit of the waiver.

Last April, Beximco as a maiden Bangladeshi company decided to issue the first-ever private-sector Sukuk 'Al Istisna' for Tk 30 billion.

It is the largest-ever issuance of securities in the private sector of Bangladesh.

Industry insiders said retired person won't be able to carry out their family expenses with 1.0-2.0 per cent return that they get currently from deposits in Islamic bank.

Islamic banks cannot buy traditional bonds like their conventional counterparts since bonds are interest-based.

In December 2020, the government issued the first-ever Tk 80-billion Sukuk for a safe water supply project.

Sovereign Sukuk is the main contributor of the global sukuk market.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Sukuk database, the amount of sovereign Sukuk reached $606.3 billion, or around 55 per cent of Sukuk issued globally, by the end of 2018.

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Five global tech firms paid Tk 4.6 crore VAT in August to NBR

Star Business Report

Thu Sep 16, 2021 03:50 PM

Five global tech firms paid Tk 4.6 crore as value added tax (VAT) in August with social media giant facebook depositing the highest amount, which reflects the growing desire of businesses to advert about their product and services in digital sphere.

Three entities of Facebook, which got VAT registration with the National Board of Revenue (NBR) in June this year, paid a total of Tk 2.56 crore in August, said SM Humayun Kabir, commissioner of VAT Commissionerate, Dhaka South.

Google Asia Pacific Ltd, a concern of Google, deposited second highest amount of VAT in August at Tk 1.70 crore, according to the NBR official.

Last month global e-commerce company Amazon Web Services Inc paid Tk 34.7 lakh VAT.

The tech companies signed up for VAT registration in May and June this year in line with a previous rule of the NBR.


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Bangladesh's tax revenue up as economy rebounds

 DOULOT AKTER MALA | Published:  October 05, 2021 08:26:49 | Updated:  October 05, 2021 16:58:06

Tax-revenue collection in Bangladesh marks an upturn amid economic rebound, both globally and locally, following reopening from corona lockdowns.

Transitional period in economy after the anti-Covid lockdowns has helped the tax authority hammer in a 14.55-per cent growth in the first two months of the current fiscal year (FY), provisional data with the National Board of Revenue (NBR) show.

The revenue growth was negative 1.50 per cent in the same period last fiscal year-the period when the mortal global pandemic had upended normal order of life and business.

However, the NBR counted a shortfall against its target worth Tk 52.12 billion for the past July-August period.

The taxmen collected Tk 345.48 billion in tax revenue in the first two months against its target for Tk 397.59 billion.

Collection of import and export duties registered the highest growth at 15.72 per cent while VAT collection from domestic sources grew 14.21 per cent.

Income-tax wing of the revenue board registered 13.66-per cent growth in this period.

A senior NBR official said import growth contributed to the higher revenue collection.

"At-source or withholding tax collection is the major contributor to tax revenue. The NBR rationalised the source taxes in the budget to plug revenue leakage," he said.


In the month of July, tax-revenue collection grew 4.06 per cent over the corresponding month last year.

Shortfall in tax-revenue collection was Tk 56.13 billion against the original target for the first month of the fiscal.

Last FY, the NBR achieved above 20-per cent growth in tax collection despite Covid-induced economic slowdown amid lockdown in different phases.

The NBR collected Tk 2.61 trillion in tax revenue in FY 2020-21against the revised target of Tk 3.01 trillion.

The tax growth was twofold in FY '21 against its average growth of 10 per cent during the last five fiscal years.

In FY 2019-20, the NBR had collected Tk 2.18 trillion, registering a negative growth.

For the current FY, the government has set Tk 3.30-trillion target for the NBR.

Talking to the FE, a senior field official said rationalization of source tax and enforcement of budgetary measures helped the revenue authority increase tax receipts.

He said upward trend in import of revenue-generating products, implementation of development projects, rise in consumptions of commodity on the local market, and rise in commodity prices on the international market are contributing to higher revenue collection.

According to Bangladesh Bank (BB) data, the settlement of letters of credit (LC) grew by 30.62 per cent to $5.17 billion in August 2021 from $3.96 billion in the month of July.

The opening of LCs, generally known as import orders, also increased above 48 per cent to $6.29 billion in August from $4.25 billion a month before.

He also said global economic-growth momentum also continues with commodity-price hike that creates inflationary pressure across the world.

Bangladesh Ambassador to Germany, also former chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR), Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said business activity geared up following the reopening economic activities in the country.

"Installation of Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) started paying off slightly, helping the government to collect higher VAT," he said.

The NBR, he suggests, should lay more focus on installation of EFD and scanner in all customs ports to check revenue leakage.

"Tax-GDP ratio would not go up unless the tax administration is automated," he says.


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28,000 house, flat owners in Dhaka identified as property tax evaders

 FE REPORT | Published:  October 06, 2021 09:15:15 | Updated:  October 06, 2021 09:25:26

Tax payment status of house property and flat owners in the city has come under scanner of the tax authority.

Tax Zone-1 under the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has already collected information of house property and apartment owners in Shegun Bagicha, Eskaton, Siddeswari, Moghbazar and Hatirpool areas of the city in this regard.

Tax commissioner of the zone AKM Badiul Alam said they had started issuing letters to those owners asking them to furnish tax-related information.

Initially, Tax Zone-1 has scrutinised information of 28,000 house property owners in six wards under two city corporations of the capital.

"For high-rise apartment owners, we have given them a prescribed form to collect Taxpayers Identification Number (TIN) and National identity card," he said.

He said the zone had collected data of house property owners directly from the city corporation manual database in order to check their tax status.

Instead of visiting door-to-door, the taxmen have adopted the innovative strategy for the first time to check tax evasion, he added.

"We have found some of the flat owners are yet to register their apartment after purchasing while some have shown one flat despite having multiple ones," he added.

In a programme on the lottery of Electronic Fiscal Device on Tuesday, NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem said the NBR had launched a drive to bring owners of flat and house properties under tax net.

The NBR chairman instructed all of the tax zones across the country to take this as a model and launch the drive.

In the programme, the revenue board chief handed over a letter of appreciation to Mr Badiul Alam for his innovative effort to widen the tax net.

It's a difficult task as tax evaders usually non-cooperate such drives, said the NBR chairman.

He expressed hope that such drive would help increase the number of taxpayers.


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VAT returns, payments go fully online soon

 FE REPORT | Published:  October 13, 2021 08:27:34 | Updated:  October 13, 2021 09:37:37


Two major networking integrations will be completed by next month for the convenience of businesses to submit returns and pay VAT entirely through online process, revenue officials said.

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is going full steam ahead in building the digital setup for hassle-free collection value-added tax.

Bill of entry of importers would be integrated with the VAT online system to access all of the import information that would reduce hassles facing the businesses in submitting all those with VAT returns.

It will also integrate the VAT online system with the a-Chalan of the Ministry of Finance so that businesses can avail e-payment facility from any banks.

Key person of VAT online system and customs commissioner Kazi Mustafizur Rahman set forth the mechanisms at a seminar Monday at the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB).

Symphony Softech Ltd, an enlisted VAT software company, organized the seminar on online VAT submission to integrated IVAS of VAT online at the ICMAB auditorium. Director-General of NBR's Research and Statistics wing Md Anwar Hossain attended the programme as chief guest.

Mr Rahman said the VAT online system started paying off as the number of online return submissions increased to 150,000 from 3,000 when it was launched.

He said the online VAT system is also integrated with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Office of the Chief Controller of Imports and Exports.

The refund system would be automated through integration.

To resolve problems in unlocking Business Identification Number (BIN), the NBR would introduce OTP system from November.

"Once overall integration done, businesses would not require giving entry or inputs in the system several times," he told the meet.

He said the NBR system is ready to provide services if businesses are prepared for this.

Problem varies on the basis of nature of businesses and the VAT authority in addressing each of the problems, he added.

Pending refund applications would be processed soon as the NBR has to involve commissioners in accessing the systems.

The VAT audit system would also be automated after the NBR prepares audit guidelines, he said.

"Fear of the businesses on complying with the VAT law would be resolved as they would get services at doorstep."

The revenue official said the call centre of VAT online project remained shut after completion of the project. "We have applied for funds to resume its operation and NBR agreed to provide the fund support," he added.

He also informed that the bonded-warehouse system would be automated soon, and some visible developments would appear by next six to seven months.

Mr Anwar Hossain said the NBR is heading towards a total integration programme to provide better services.

Rakesh Saha, partner, tax and regulatory service, Ernst & Young Advisory Service BD Ltd, said the NBR move helped to resolve problems of the non-resident software companies to comply with the VAT law.

Md Kamrul Hassan, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Symphony Softech Ltd, gave a presentation on VAT online.

He said the company was able to integrate IVAS in 33 districts.

Managing Director of Symphony Softtech Ltd Md Faruque Sikder said software companies are supporting the NBR in automating the VAT system.

Sayed Ahmed, chairman of Symphony Softech Ltd, delivered concluding remarks.


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Import taxes on onion, sugar to be reduced

 FE REPORT | Published:  October 14, 2021 09:06:21 | Updated:  October 14, 2021 09:10:07

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is set to cut import taxes on onion and sugar in order to keep prices of the essential items stable on the local market.

Import tax on onion will be halved to 5.0 per cent while regulatory duty (RD) on import of sugar will be cut by 10 per cent.

The reduced import tax will remain effective until December 30, 2021, said officials of the revenue board.

The customs wing is going to issue a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) within this week, making the reduced duty effective, they added.

Currently, import of onion requires paying 10 per cent tax while import of sugar needs 30 per cent RD along with specific tax.

Officials said the NBR took the decision to cut duty on those two key essential commodities following a request from the Ministry of Commerce.

NBR's move came in the backdrop of the recent surge in the prices of onion and sugar in the local market.

According to trading sources, both the prices of onion and sugar maintained an upward trend on Wednesday.

A kilogramme (kg) of local variety of onion was still selling between Tk 70 and Tk 75 on the day, against Tk 40-45 a couple of weeks back.

Retailers said that they had purchased onion at Tk 65 a kg from wholesalers on the day.

So they are bound to sell onions at Tk 70 per kg, making only a minimal profit, they said.

To them, the shortage of supply and fall in imports from neighbouring India are responsible behind the present high prices of onion in the local market.

The retailers hoped that the prices of onion would become normal once there was sufficient supply of the spice in the markets.

Meanwhile, sugar was sold at Tk 80 a kg at the retail market on the day which was traded between Tk 65 and Tk 70 a kg a couple of weeks back.

Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC) raised the sugar price at mill gate by Tk 6.0 per kg.

The mill gate rate of sugar has been fixed at Tk 74 a kg which was Tk 68 earlier.

Chief (Marketing) of BSFIC Md Mazharul Huq Khan told the FE that the new price chart came into effect from Tuesday last as per the directives of the Ministry of Industries.


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Tariff tangle troubles five plants' tenure extension

 FE REPORT |  October 19, 2021 00:00:00


Tenure extension of the oil-fired quick-rental power plants (QRPPs) looks uncertain as tariff negotiations hit a deadlock over the entrepreneurs' hard bargain for extras, officials say.

The five oil-fired power plants' owners are seeking new tariffs along with costs of employee salaries and maintenance of their plants. But the electricity buyer is interested to pay only tariffs on the recently determined 'no-electricity, no-payment' basis, they said.

"If the plant owners do not change their stance over the new tariff rate, the state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) might not go for any fresh agreement extending their tenures for operation," a senior BPDB official told the FE Monday.

Sources say following appeals from the plant owners the government was considering a fresh extension for these power plants by two years under 'no-electricity, no-payment' mechanism.

Power Division under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) initially had endorsed the proposal and instructed the BPDB to complete negotiations over new tariffs.

All these much-touted QRPPs came into operation around 10 years back in mid-2011 and got initial extension by five years in 2016 under the original contract terms, they add.

The power plants under extension considerations are Summit Power's Madanganj 102-megawatt (MW) quick-rental power plant, Orion's Meghnaghat 100mw quick-rental power plant, Dutch-Bangla Power's Siddirganj 100mw quick-rental power plant, and Khulna Power's Khulna 115mw quick-rental power plant and Noapara 40mw plant.

Some of these power plants are the directly listed companies or subsidiary of listed companies with Bangladesh's two bourses - Dhaka Stock Exchange and Chattagram Stock Exchange.

Owners of these power plants along with many tenure-expired and to- be-expired companies have long been lobbying with the government to get their plant tenures extended.

Under no-electricity, no-payment model the BPDB is to purchase electricity from such plants only when necessary to meet the domestic demand, which had been mounting while the quick-power remedy was conceived to feed power-hungry households and economy.

The BPDB will not have to pay capacity payments to the plant owners if it fails to buy electricity readily available with them.

Currently, only renewable energy-based power plants, especially solar-fired ones, are operational under the no- electricity, no-payment arrangement.

All these five power plants were awarded based on unsolicited offers under the Speedy Supply of Power and Energy (Special Provision) Act 2010 when the country was reeling from an acute electricity crisis.

The law has a provision of immunity to those involved with a quick fix.

The government also allowed entrepreneurs of these power plants duty-free import of furnace oil to run plants with a 9.0-per cent service charge along with import costs as an incentive, said a senior power division official.

Currently, there are a total of 58 furnace oil-fired plants operational in the country with a cumulative electricity-generation capacity of 5,712 megawatts, against the country's overall electricity-generation capacity of 21,395 megawatts.

Total operational power plants are, however, 143 as of February 9, 2021, according to the BPDB statistics.

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Md Jahidul Islam

19 October, 2021, 10:40 am

Last modified: 19 October, 2021, 11:50 am

Imposing extra tax on vehicles without improved services to worsen traffic jam

Recently Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam suggested imposing extra tax on cars in some particular areas in the capital in order to reduce traffic congestion



  • Mayor recently proposed extra tax for driving vehicles in affluent areas
  • Urban experts say without improving services, the move may intensify traffic congestion 
  • 30,000 buses of 2,500 companies run in 291 routes in Dhaka 
  • Total registered vehicles in the capital is 17,13,554

A number of mega projects, including metrorail, are underway to reduce traffic congestion in Dhaka, but the city authorities are still in doubt whether the implementation of the projects will at all be fruitful.

Recently Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam suggested imposing extra tax on cars in some particular areas in the capital in order to reduce traffic congestion.

However, urban planners and local government experts say that charging such fees instead of providing adequate sidewalks on the roads, parking spaces and planned public transport services will not reduce traffic congestion but increase it. The local government may impose such a tax to provide civic benefits, but there will be no benefit unless it is planned comprehensively through considering all aspects of the situation.

On 25 September, DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam said at an event that the number of private vehicles has increased in elite areas like Gulshan and Baridhara in the capital. Additional taxes have to be paid to drive cars in these areas.

The mayor said an overwhelming number of cars have flooded the streets of the capital. Each member of a family has a different car. "We have planned to introduce an extra charge for driving through the capital's elite areas. Abroad, extra charge is taken if a private car enters different roads," he said.

He said that the DNCC will implement the matter after counting the cars through a survey on the streets of these elite areas.

However, Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) General Secretary Professor Dr Adil Muhammad Khan told The Business Standard, "In city planning, imposing conditional charges on the transport sector is nothing new, but it requires a specific plan."

The city planner observed that if conditional tax is applied in separate places in Dhaka, no benefit will be obtained. In order to do this, at first a survey has to be conducted across the whole city to get an idea of what kind of measures can be taken in which areas. The main objective will be reducing the use of private cars. In order to reduce the number of private cars on the roads, adequate public transport, footpaths and parking spaces as well as other services have to be ensured in those areas.

According to the Dhaka Transport Coordinating Authority (DTCA), around 30,000 buses of about 2,500 companies operate on 291 routes in the capital.

According to the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), as of 31 August, 2021, the number of vehicles registered in the capital was 17,13,554. Of these, 849,335 are motorcycles, which is 49% of the total number of vehicles. As many as 308,860 private cars have been registered, which is 18% of all vehicles, while the number of registered buses is 36,978 or 2% of the total number of vehicles.

The total number of vehicles registered in Dhaka in 2010 was 593,077. The figure has increased to over 17 lakh at present. During this time, among the total registered vehicles, the number of private vehicles has increased by more than 67% while the number of buses has increased by only 2%.

Traffic congestion in the capital has steadily been worsening owing to the growing number of vehicles on city streets.

Hundreds of thousands of working hours are being wasted due to the long unending traffic jams, resulting in financial losses worth several thousand crores of taka.

According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 10% of the country's population live in and around Dhaka. Due to increasing demand, the number of private cars has also been going up. The number of vehicles registered for traffic in the capital has more than tripled in the last 10 years.

According to international standards, a maximum of 216,000 vehicles can ply on the roads of the capital. But at present, the number of vehicles plying on the city streets is more than eight times that number. The speed of vehicles on the roads of Dhaka is less than seven kilometers per hour.

In reply to a query on the extent to which city dwellers will benefit if a tax is imposed on private vehicles in elite areas, Dr Adil Muhammad Khan said, "According to local government law, the city corporation has full freedom to impose any kind of toll to keep the living standards of the city dwellers to a tolerable level. There is no legal barrier, but before making a decision we have to consider whether it will be functional in terms of application. If the decision is made without changing the current situation, sufferings will increase instead of decreasing."

However, the DNCC mayor has said that parking spaces will be increased by recovering encroached sidewalks. Encroachers occupy the footpaths in different ways and pedestrians are forced to walk on the streets as they cannot do that on the sidewalks, resulting in increased traffic congestion. There are plans so that people can cycle on dedicated lanes and walk on sidewalks.

Local government expert Dr Tofail Ahmed told TBS that the BRTA is providing registration route permits for vehicles and the government is charging a tax for that. By paying that tax, vehicle owners are able to travel all over Bangladesh, paying tolls only where they are required. "The city corporation cannot impose a tax in Gulshan-Banani without proving something special. If you want to collect tax, you must give service accordingly", he said.

He wondered if imposing an additional tax will reduce traffic congestion. In his view, it will worsen traffic congestion. If there is any other measure to reduce traffic congestion, it should be done. But it is not possible to reduce traffic congestion by fixing taxes. It is not a sustainable system. Public transport services must be increased to reduce the pressure of private cars on the streets. Arrangements can be made for these vehicles not to ply at any time other than a specified time on a special road. 

Experts have also said that in order to impose an additional tax on cars, an automatic mechanical system has to be introduced. Otherwise there will be no benefit; rather traffic congestion will increase further. Recognised methods that are available abroad can be applied. For this, a car policy has to be made for every family living and traveling in the elite areas of the capital so that a family cannot use more than one car. 

They have also suggested that an extra tax can be collected if a family uses more than one car.

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TBS Report

23 October, 2021, 10:35 pm

Last modified: 24 October, 2021, 11:37 am

‘Money being smuggled out would be $12-15b a year’ 

Absence of good governance and lack of political will are leading to huge sums of money being smuggled out of the country every year, experts said


The amount of money smuggled through false information on imports and exports is estimated at $8-9 billion a year. Adding the money of politically influential and corrupt individuals, the total would amount to $12-15 billion, said Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh (TiB). 

He said many people, mostly the politically influential, are smuggling a lot of money to Canada's Begum Para, Malaysia's second home programme.

He made these remarks at an event, titled "Offshore Wealth of Developing Countries: Impediment Towards Inclusive Growth," jointly organised in Dhaka by the Economics Study Center and EMK Center on Saturday.  

At least 80% of the total amount of money that is being laundered from the country is done through over and under-invoicing in the export-import trade processes, experts said at the event, estimating that the actual figure of smuggled money is likely way higher than what various global agencies including the Global Financial Integrity (GFI) put. 

Absence of good governance, lack of proper enforcement of laws, and lack of political will are leading to huge amounts of money being smuggled out of the country every year, they viewed.

Speakers in the event pointed out that the laundering was causing the government's revenue collection to go down and much needed allocations were hampered for important sectors like social security, education and health.

Dr Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said at the event, "In the past, money laundering took place in developed countries, but now 85 percent of the money is smuggled out of low-earning and developing countries."

He said rich countries are luring in capital from poor countries with various incentives including zero duty facility.

"Our government is unable to spend even 7-8% of our GDP on social security, education and health," he said adding, "Bangladesh lags far behind other developing countries in terms of Tax GDP. If the smuggling of capital was prevented, the income of the government would increase and the allocation for the poor would also increase."

Mustafizur thinks that it is possible to prevent money laundering through the goodwill of the government and strict implementation of law.

He said that institutional capacity needs to be enhanced for this purpose.

However, he added that public opinion against money laundering is increasing in developed countries. He said the civil society of rich countries is pressuring the government against money laundering. Governments are also becoming aware that money laundering is linked to crime and human trafficking.

Dr Iftekharuzzaman said if anti-corruption commission, Bangladesh Bank, Attorney General's Office and other government agencies take concerted efforts, it is possible to prevent money laundering and bring back the siphoned off sums.

He pointed out that in 2012 it was possible to bring back the money smuggled by the son of the former prime minister simply because of the political goodwill of the government.

"Though the legal framework is stronger than it used to be, no new initiatives are being taken to recover smuggled money as the government does not have the political will," he said.

He added that foreigners working in Bangladesh are smuggling a large part of their income. That's $2 billion a year. Although there is no rule for Bangladeshi workers to pay for visas to go abroad, more than $2 billion is being smuggled into the sector every year. He advised that the government take all these incidents seriously.

Asif Iqbal, Joint Director, Bangladesh Bank, said that there was room for doubt about the veracity of the money laundering report as the government did not have enough data.

He said that even though foreign agencies have mentioned a certain amount of money being laundered, their reports do not really portray the whole scenario.

"The problem is there is no such database," he said.

He added that there is a tendency among the middle class to sell everything and go abroad. That too is coming as part of illicit finance.

Again, there is no account of how much money is smuggled through international couriers. A lot of money goes to other countries through Dubai through small courier services.

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Tax revenue

NBR sees 16.72pc growth in Q1 '22

 DOULOT AKTER MALA |  October 24, 2021 00:00:00

The collection of tax revenue registered a 16.72 per cent growth in the first quarter (Q1) of the current fiscal year (FY) as compared to the same period last FY, thanks to economic reopening after the Covid-induced lockdown.

Increased prices of imported commodities, particularly fuel oil and food items, in the global market have helped enhance the collection of duties and taxes by the customs wing, suggested an analysis of import data.

Tax officials, however, considered that close monitoring, economic rebound, automation move, easing of the tax payment procedures, legal reforms and transparency were the main reasons behind the higher collection growth rate.

The average tax revenue collection growth was 11.36 per cent during the last five years.

However, the overall collection fell by Tk 63.43 billion short of the period's target, according to provisional data of the National Board of Revenue (NBR).


In the July-September quarter, the NBR collected Tk 583.51 billion in tax revenue against its target of Tk 646.95 billion.

Director General of the NBR research and statistics wing Md Anwar Hossain expected the revenue collection to increase further in the coming months and achieve the target, which is too high compared to that of the last FY's actual collection.

He informed that trading, retail and some other important sectors have contributed to the higher tax collection growth this time. "This is a provisional figure. The actual growth will be even more after final data compilation," he added.

Of the total Q1 collections, customs revenue posted an impressive 21 per cent growth, highest among the other wings, due to increase in global commodity prices.

Import of revenue-generating products including higher prices of fuel oil and food contributed to the higher customs revenue growth in the first three months of the current FY.

According to Bangladesh Bank data, the value of imports as measured by the settlements of letters of credit (LCs) surged by 30.62 per cent to US$ 5.17 billion in August 2021 from $3.96 billion in the previous month.

The opening of import LCs also increased by more than 48 per cent to $6.29 billion in August from $4.25 billion a month ago.

The VAT collection also grew by 16.45 per cent in the period under review as consumption of goods increased following resumption of economic activities and domestic tourism.

The income tax wing also achieved 12.74 per cent growth in the Q1, collecting Tk 179.49 billion in the Q1.

The NBR collected Tk 210.92 billion VAT and Tk 193.09 billion customs duty in July-September period this FY.

However, the income tax wing suffered a collection shortfall of Tk 19.78 billion, followed by VAT Tk 19.47 billion and customs wing Tk 24.17 billion as compared to their respective targets for the period.

A former tax official, preferring anonymity, said the hefty revenue collection growth is largely contributed by at source or withholding tax.

The government has increased source tax in some key points where it would be able to mobilise higher revenue with less effort, he said.

However, the tax officials said the collection of source tax also needs intensive monitoring as many of the tax deducting authorities refrained from depositing tax properly that they deducted from the service seekers.

In the last FY, the NBR's revenue collection was poor due to the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

In Q1 of last FY 2020-21, the NBR achieved 3.21 per cent growth against the same period of the previous FY.

Following the sluggish economic activities since March 8, 2020, the VAT collection growth dropped to 1.25 per cent, followed by income tax 2.04 per cent and customs duty 6.79 per cent.

The government has set a Tk 3.30 trillion tax revenue collection target in the current FY against actual collection of Tk 2.61 trillion in the last FY.

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Deep cuts in corporate tax for specific products, SRO issued

 FE REPORT | Published:  October 28, 2021 08:55:43 | Updated:  October 28, 2021 17:08:01


The government's revenue authority slashed corporate tax sharply for local manufacturers of a number of products for a longer-term until June 30, 2032, as a measure for the manufacturing sector to flourish.

Manufacturers of refrigerators, complete freezers with spare parts, motorcycles, air-conditioners and their compressors will enjoy a 10-per cent concessionary tax rate on their incomes for the period after the date of commencing commercial production, according to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) notification.

The income-tax wing under the Internal Resources Division (IRD) issued a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) on October 21, 2021, to give effect to the cut-down corporate-tax rate.

Currently, the manufacturers of those products are required to pay corporate tax at regular rates, like other companies, ranging from 22.5 to 30 per cent on the basis of categories of companies.

However, the income-tax wing of the revenue board has tagged some conditions to availing the concessionary tax.

The company will have to invest at least 10 per cent of its tax-exempted income within the next three years in its industry or new industrial undertaking.

The 'investment' has been defined in the SRO as increasing own production capacity and purchase of machinery for constructing physical infrastructure.

"Manufacturing companies will have to be registered under the Company Act 1994, have capacities to manufacture mould and dices on their own, have own polyurethane foaming plant, power-coating plant and waste- management plant," the SRO says.

The existing manufacturing industry that has reconstructed businesses or classified as new businesses or industries formed through the transfer of machinery or building structure would not be entitled to the reduced rate of tax.

However, industries that have been enjoying a 5.0-per cent tax rate under an SRO issued in 2009 would continue to avail the facility until its tenure ends.

After the expiry of their tenure under the SRO, those industries would have to pay 10-per cent tax until June 30, 2032.


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84 large cos dodge Tk 5,067cr in VAT in 6 fiscal years: NBR

The revenue board recovers Tk 480 crore

Rakib Hasan | Published: 21:57, Nov 06,2021


A file photo shows the National Board of Revenue headquarters in the capital.  Eighty-four companies under the large taxpayer unit (value-added tax) of the National Board of Revenue evaded VAT worth about Tk 5,067 crore from the financial year of 2015-16 to 2020-21, making it difficult for the revenue board to achieve its tax collection target, according to an LTU report submitted to the NBR on October 23.—New Age photo

Eighty-four companies under the large taxpayer unit (value-added tax) of the National Board of Revenue evaded VAT worth about Tk 5,067 crore from the financial year of 2015-16 to 2020-21, making it difficult for the revenue board to achieve its tax collection target, according to an LTU report submitted to the NBR on October 23.

The VAT evading companies include banks, multinational companies, cigarette manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, hotels, ceramics makers, cement companies, mobile operators, gas companies and beverage companies.

Of the amount evaded, the tax authorities managed to recover Tk 480 crore in the period.

Of the remaining amount, cases involving Tk 3,448.13 crore in VAT are pending with the High Court, cases involving Tk 705.94 crore are pending with the LTU (VAT) appellate tribunal and Tk 432 crore could be recovered as the companies concerned shut down their business.

Through conducting audits, the LTU (VAT) detected the revenue evasion of the entities over the years.

According to the VAT wing of the NBR, 110 large taxpayers are now under the LTU jurisdiction.

In the FY 2020-21, the NBR excluded 34 companies from its large taxpayer unit following their poor contribution to the government exchequer.

According to the LTU report, the highest amount of VAT was dodged in the FY 2017-18 — about Tk 4,156 crore by 27 entities.

Of the amount, about Tk 114 crore was recovered.

According to NBR officials, the bulk of the country’s VAT comes from the large and multinational companies which are under the large taxpayer unit (VAT) of the NBR.

Many of the companies, including those in the service and manufacturing sectors, conceal their documents related to raw material sources and product sales details to earn illegal profits, said the officials.

‘In such cases, we conduct audits against allegations and try to solve the issues through meetings with the companies at the primary stage,’ they said.

In some cases, entities seek legal support from the High court, they said.

But most of the companies file appeals with the VAT appellate tribunal, the officials added.

Businesses alleged that some corrupt revenue officials abused their power to conduct false audits.

The LTU report said that in the FY 2015-16, about Tk 1.56 crore in VAT was evaded. The NBR recovered Tk 57 lakh.

In the FY 2016-17, the LTU detected VAT evasion of Tk 17.50 crore by 10 companies.

It detected that 26 companies evaded VAT worth around Tk 789 crore in the FY 2018-19 and it later recovered Tk 320.40 crore.

In the FY 2019-20, Tk 96 crore in VAT was evaded by nine entities.

In the FY 2020-21, the LTU detected VAT evasion worth around Tk 6.87 crore by nine entities.


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NBR holds 10th lottery on EFD invoices

 Tribune Report

 Published at 06:10 pm November 7th, 2021



The move aims to encourage people to ask salespeople for machine-generated receipts

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) on Sunday held its 10th lottery on value added tax (VAT) receipts generated through electronic fiscal devices (EFD) against purchases made by consumers from stores.

The move aims to encourage people to ask salespeople for machine-generated receipts in order to ensure that the actual amount of VAT, a type of consumption tax, goes to the state coffers properly.

The lottery was held on the invoices issued throughout October.

The invoice numbers of 101 winners were announced in the EFD lottery held at the conference room of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) headquarters in the capital. 

The first prize of Tk1 lakh went to invoice/coupon number 001321VRCULXL034 while invoice number 003821YWBYDED207 won the second prize of Tk50,000.

Five consumers also won the third prize worth Tk25,000 each while 94 consumers won the fourth prize worth Tk10,000 each. 

The third prize winning invoice numbers are 001921MGNXOJV598, 000121RXHKGFB661, 001921MGNXOJV598, 000021QOHITIU888, 002321MIBMAGO006 and 001921SYMDETF334.

NBR member (VAT implementation and IT) Abdul Mannan Shikder presided over the event. 

The revenue board holds this lottery every month on EFD generated VAT invoices of the previous month to encourage consumers to buy products from shops that had installed EFDs and to obtain EFD-generated VAT invoices against any purchase.

It will also ensure that the VAT collected from consumers by shopkeepers will go to the government exchequer.

So far, NBR has installed EFDs in 3,393 businesses in Dhaka and Chittagong, which have been provided free of cost. 

But recently NBR has moved away from the decision to distribute free VAT machines to at least 100,000 business organizations.

NBR Chairman Abu Hena Mohammad inaugurated the EFD on August 25, 2019, to ensure transparency and accountability in VAT collection. 

The first lottery draw for EFD invoices was held on February 5 earlier this year.

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BB: Send VAT details of tech giants to customs

 Tribune Report

 Published at 07:15 pm November 13th, 2021

Mehedi Hasan

Before the directive, the banks used to send this information to the VAT Policy department of the National Board of Revenue (NBR)

Bangladesh Bank (BB) has given new instructions to commercial banks by changing the previous decision on the VAT issues of tech giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon.

The central bank has asked the authorized dealer (AD) banks to submit VAT details of the non-resident service providers, including the tech giants to the customs office instead of the VAT policy department within the first seven days of the next month.

Before the directive, the banks used to send this information to the VAT Policy department of the National Board of Revenue (NBR).

Regarding this, an official of Bangladesh Bank, seeking anonymity, said: “Earlier, our cooperation was sought from the NBR on the issue of VAT of non-resident service providers. Banks were then given a directive to report their accounts to the NBR, but since these companies submit VAT to the VAT Commissionerate of Dhaka South, they have requested to change it.”

The circular said: "As per the recent decision of the NBR, it has been suggested to send the prescribed VAT member (VAT policy) to the commissioner of Customs, Excise and VAT Commissionerate of Dhaka (South) office in the capital's Kakrail IDEB building instead of the Board of Revenue."

The foreign exchange policy department of BB sent this circular to the banks on Wednesday.

Earlier, the central bank issued a circular in this regard on August 25. 

The circular instructed authorized dealer banks to send the statements regularly through their head offices within seven days of the following month.

It also mentioned that as per a meeting held at the NBR on June 24 earlier this year, it was decided that the banks would submit the statements of VAT deduction against services rendered by the non-resident taxpayers to the NBR and the concerned VAT agents.

The central bank, in this regard, has prepared a uniform statement and instructed the banks to submit the statements to members of the NBR and the concerned VAT agents.

It also said that the statement would include VAT deducted against remittances under general or specific permissions from the central bank.

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Mohsin Bhuiyan

17 November, 2021, 09:40 pm

Last modified: 18 November, 2021, 10:00 am

Bangladesh losing Tk1,235cr every year to tax abuse by multinationals, rich individuals



Bangladesh is losing $143.96 million or Tk1,235 crore in tax revenue every year to global tax abuse by multinational corporations and wealthy individuals, says a report by the global tax justice campaigners.

The Tax Justice Network, the Global Alliance for Tax Justice and the Public Services International jointly published the report titled "The State of Tax Justice 2021" on Tuesday.

The amount would be enough to inoculate 84 lakh or 5.3% of Bangladesh's total population against Covid-19, the report reads, adding that the estimated loss in the direct taxes is also equivalent to 14.52% of the country's public health expenditure.

The second edition of the report says corporate tax abuse accounts for $118.25 million or 82% of the tax losses, and the rest $25.71 million or 18% is due to offshore tax evasion by wealthy individuals.

Last year, the inaugural edition of the report revealed an annual tax loss of $703.40 million for Bangladesh. The latest edition said it declined to $143.96 million a year.

However, the report did not mention any specific fiscal year for the loss.

The total tax revenue losses were calculated based on data reported by multinational corporations and banking data collected by governments, according to the report.

Tax revenue loss: Bangladesh 3rd highest in S Asia

The report revealed that Bangladesh is the third highest country in South Asia, witnessing a tax revenue loss of $143.96 million, after India's $16.83 billion and Pakistan's $758.95 million.

The Maldives ($3.19 million) experienced the lowest amount of tax revenue loss per year in the region, followed by Bhutan ($27.09 million) and Nepal ($38.28 million).

Sri Lanka and Afghanistan – the other two nations of the region – are losing $77.92 million and $50.22 million, respectively.

However, the Maldives do not experience any corporate tax abuse, the report says.

Globally, countries are losing $483 billion in tax a year to global tax abuse which is enough to fully vaccinate the global population against Covid-19 more than three times.

The 38 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a club for the rich nations, are responsible for 78% of global tax losses each year, while only the United Kingdom, together with its network of overseas territories and Crown Dependencies, accounts for over a third (39%) of the total losses.

In a press release, TJN's data scientist Miroslav Palanský said, "The $483 billion lost to tax havens a year is the tip of the iceberg. It's what we can see above the surface thanks to some recent progress on tax transparency, but we know there's a lot more tax abuse below the surface costing magnitudes more in tax losses."

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TBS Report

01 December, 2021, 09:10 pm

Last modified: 01 December, 2021, 09:11 pm

Netflix gets VAT registration from NBR

Netflix will pay a 15% VAT on Bangladesh revenue derived from December


Netflix, a USA-subscription-based streaming service and production company, has received the Value-Added Tax (VAT) number from the National Board of Revenue (NBR).

The web streaming giant received the business identification number (004319482/0208) registration from the Dhaka South VAT Commissionerate on Wednesday, said a press statement.

Netflix used its Singapore address and received the registration with the name of Netflix PTE Limited, Singapore.

SM Humayun Kabir, commissioner, Custom, Excise, and VAT Commissionerate, Dhaka South, confirmed the matter to The Business Standard.

PricewaterhouseCoopers will be their local consultant. Netflix will now pay a 15% VAT on revenue derived in Bangladesh from December, said the commissioner.

NBR made it mandatory for tech giants to either set up offices in Bangladesh or appoint agents so that the government can collect VAT on the advertisements and other services provided by them to local firms in July 2019, he added.

Earlier in this financial year, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft obtained their business identification number from the NBR. These multinational companies are now paying VAT regularly to NBR.


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