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TBS Report

26 January, 2022, 08:35 pm

Last modified: 26 January, 2022, 08:40 pm

Business leaders want NBR steps towards ease of doing business

International Customs Day observed yesterday, 20 entities honoured



Business leaders from different sectors have urged the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to take bold steps, including those related to speeding up goods release at seaports, to facilitate doing business with ease in the country. 

To this end, they have also underscored the need for NBR automation, its collaboration with private sectors, and impediment-free tax-related services.

"Tax-GDP ratio should be increased. Simultaneously, keeping businesses and trade operational is also important," said Md Jashim Uddin, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).

To improve the business environment in the country, the revenue agency must be digitalised first, he told a seminar at a city hotel. The seminar was organised on Wednesday to mark International Customs Day.

The FBCCI chief added that the customs authorities under the board should take steps to ensure a quick release of goods at different seaports. The apex trade body leader emphasised more collaboration between the NBR and stakeholders especially in formulating laws and rules for ensuring fairness and their smooth implementation.  

Agreeing with him, Russell T. Ahmed, President of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services, said the NBR believed businesspeople want to evade tax all the time. "But this is not true."

The NBR should cordially deal with private sectors and enhance relations with businesspeople in order to earn their cooperation.

Shehzad Munim, managing director of British American Tobacco Bangladesh, agreed and suggested that the NBR widen hassle-free trade facilities for more authorised economic operators.

This year's Customs Day has been observed in 183 countries across the globe on the theme, "Scaling up customs digital transformation by embracing a data culture and building a data ecosystem".

At the Dhaka event, the Revenue Board, in collaboration with the World Customs Organisation, recognised 20 entities with certificates of merit for their unwavering support in trade facilitation.

Of the entities, three are organisations – Benapole's Customs House, Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation and Economic Reporters Forum­ – and the rest 17 are NBR officials.

Agriculture Minister Mohammad Abdur Razzaque and State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury also spoke at the event.

Razzaque asked the NBR to increase its efforts to prevent money laundering in the name of over-invoicing and under-invoicing. He also urged the NBR officials to emerge free of the issues which have regularly been coming under criticism. "Otherwise, we (people) will continue with the criticism."

Speakers on the occasion also discussed different challenges to and potentials of the country in the next couple of years.

"Bangladesh is going to face some challenges after graduating from least developed country status. On the other hand, we have huge opportunities for drawing more foreign direct investment," FBCCI President Jashim Uddin said.

The government should now emphasise wide-scale industrialisation and employment generation. "Besides, it needs diversification of industries for achieving the annual export target of $300 billion. Only the apparel industry is not enough to meet the vision."  

NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, at the event, vowed to continue his effort for ensuring good governance in the revenue agency. Trade facilitation and digitisation would be his priority, he added.

The NBR chief said the tax- GDP ratio of the country was hovering near 9%. "We studied the situation last year and found the ratio could be 16% if the government did not provide tax exemption facilities to different sectors."

The exemption declaration from high-ups created pressure on the NBR, Muneem noted.

Meanwhile, the customs authorities held another seminar in the port city of Chattogram to mark the day. Md Mahabubuzzaman, director-general of the Customs, Excise and VAT Training Academy, presided over the event at Customs House, with several senior NBR officials present.

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Reyad Hossain

01 February, 2022, 11:20 pm

Last modified: 02 February, 2022, 09:11 am

Business recovery drives up VAT collection from large taxpayers


Seven out of top 10 sectors under the large taxpayers unit (LTU) posted a 20% growth in VAT payments in the first six months of the current fiscal year, thanks to a strong rebound of businesses from pandemic-induced losses. The sectors are cigarettes, banking, pharmaceuticals, gas, electricity, beverage and water supply.

Collection from three other top VAT-paying sectors – telecom operators, soap and cement – witnessed a negative growth.

When it comes to company-wise contribution, the overall VAT mobilisation from 110 large companies grew by 15% to around Tk25,000 crore in July-December, although 42 of them fell short of what they paid during the same period a year ago, according to the LTU-VAT of the National Board of Revenue (NBR).

But VAT generation from LTU-listed companies, which account for 50% of the total collection, failed to meet the target by around Tk1,400.

The NBR set a target to collect 1,29,000 crore in the form of VAT, while its revenue mobilisation goal was set at Tk3,30,000 crore for the current fiscal year

The gas sector topped the list of VAT payment with a whopping 168% growth, followed by the banking sector 25%, cigarettes 16%, pharmaceuticals 11%, electricity distributors 10%, water supply 3% and beverage 2%. 


On other hand, VAT collection from mobile operators amounted to Tk4,216 crore, down by 4% year-on-year, while the collection from Unilever's soap and nine cement companies fell by 13% and 10% respectively.

Wahida Rahman Chowdhury, commissioner at the LTU-VAT, told The Business Standard, "We are now trying to know the reasons why VAT collection in the telecom and cement sectors fell, and we will further enhance audits in these companies."

According to LTU-VAT sources, more than half of the VAT collected comes from the cigarette sector, followed by mobile phone operators, banks, medicine, gas and other sectors.

Grameenphone pays the highest amount of VAT among telecom operators. According to the NBR, Grameenphone's VAT payment dropped by 4% and Robi's by 3% in July-December of FY22, while collection from Banglalink rose by 4%.

An analysis of GP's financial statements shows that in the first half of the current fiscal year, the mobile operator's revenue increased, but profits decreased. 

Contacted, Md Hasan, head of External Communications at Grameenphone Ltd told TBS, "As part of our continuous efforts to resolve pending disputes with the National Board of Revenue, GP had some one-off payments for the final settlement of some issues during the first half of the fiscal 2020-21, which resulted in higher payments than in the same period of fiscal 2021-22." 

Shahed Alam, chief of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at Robi Axiata Limited, said when the supplementary duty on mobile phones increased in the budget for FY20, a huge number of Robi SIMs were already in the market, resulting in an increase in VAT collection from Robi at that time. 

On the other hand, this year VAT payment fell on account of low SIM sales, triggered by some restrictions imposed by the NBR, and because of some adjustments of customs duties and other taxes levied at the import stage. 

He, however, said despite a fall in VAT collection from Robi, the overall collection of income tax and duties increased in the first six months of FY22.

Talking about a fall in VAT collection from Unilever, NBR sources said the company saw their sales drop in the first half of the current fiscal year. Besides, the adjustment of tax rebate is another reason for a decrease in the company's VAT payment.

However, Zahidul Islam Malita, finance director at Unilever Bangladesh Limited, told TBS, "The revenue, including VAT and supplementary duty, collected from our company has marginally increased in the first six months of the current fiscal."

Mohammed Amirul Haque, managing director of Premier Cement, told TBS that in the second half of FY21 (July-December), the cement sector's overall sales sector did not go well. That is why the VAT collection from it decreased.

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TBS Report

09 February, 2022, 10:15 pm

Last modified: 10 February, 2022, 01:13 pm

Foreigners to pay 25% tax against outward remittances 

if the foreign businesses violate the regulation, an additional 2% simple interest charge will be applied monthly 


The Bangladesh Bank has asked foreign individuals and business entities who are providing services in Bangladesh to pay 25% tax against their income before repatriating it as outward remittances.

The central bank's Foreign Exchange Policy Department instructed all the dealer banks through a circular issued in this regard yesterday. 

According to the circular, if the authority finds irregularities in repatriating income, then an additional 2% simple interest charge will be applied monthly, apart from the existing 25% tax on income. 

The circular enclosed a letter from the National Board of Revenue (NBR). 

According to the NBR letter, in case of a requirement to remit the whole of a foreigner's income, a new calculation needs to be made considering the rate of applicable tax.

As per the new calculation, if a foreigner wants to repatriate Tk100 income, the authority will deduct Tk20 as tax and send Tk80 as outward remittance.  

But, if a foreigner wants to send the whole of Tk100 abroad, then he will have to pay Tk25 separately as tax, said the NBR. 

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TBS Report

10 February, 2022, 06:20 pm

Last modified: 10 February, 2022, 08:06 pm

Foreign investors turn away due to comparatively high tax in Bangladesh: BIDA 

Bangladesh Investment Development Authority has proposed to reduce the corporate tax rate for non-listed companies from 30% to 28%


Foreign investors balk at the idea of investing in Bangladesh due to the higher tax rates here compared to the competing countries, said the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA).

To attract foreign direct investments (FDI), BIDA has proposed to lower the tax rate in Bangladesh as compared to the competing countries.

"Corporate tax rate is an important issue in new investment proposals. Before investing in Bangladesh, foreign investors consider the tax rates of neighbouring competing countries. Interested investors refrain from investing in Bangladesh considering the high tax rates here," said Shah Mohammad Mahboob, director general of BIDA, in a pre-budget discussion on Thursday.

"The overall burden of corporate tax rate in the country stands at 40-45% due to other taxes including advance income tax and source tax, while the average global corporate tax rate is 21-24%. It is 20% in Vietnam, 25% in Indonesia and 24% in Malaysia," said the BIDA director general at the meeting held at Revenue Building at Segunbagicha in the capital.

He proposed to reduce the corporate tax rate for non-listed companies from 30% to 28% in the next budget.

BIDA has also called for bringing tech giants, such as Facebook, Google or Amazon, under corporate tax. At present these companies are only paying VAT.

Apart from BIDA, Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA), and Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) made various proposals at the meeting.

Contradicting the business associations, National Board of Revenue Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, who chaired the discussion, said corporate tax is relaxed to a great extent in the country.

Addressing BIDA, BEZA, and BEPZA, he said, "You are all proposing to reduce corporate taxes. I did not expect this from you."

"Sometimes, tax exemptions are given for such a long time that investors' activities often end within that period," he added.

Senior NBR officials were also present in the discussion.

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FY 2022-23

Place import tax on computer, laptop, says ministry

 ISMAIL HOSSAIN | Published:  April 26, 2022 09:39:46 | Updated:  April 28, 2022 15:43:56

The Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology has proposed imposing taxes on the import of computers and laptops in the fiscal year (FY) 2022-23, in order to facilitate development of local industry.

The ministry has recently put forward the recommendation to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and the Ministry of Finance to discourage imports and encourage local manufacturing and assembling of the devices.

The proposal also included providing a 5.0 per cent tax incentive to the local manufacturers and zero tax on the import of basic parts.

Talking to the FE about the percentage, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar said, "Whatever the percentage, we want a 25 per cent tax gap between imported laptops-computers and locally manufactured gadgets."

It is possible to manufacture computers and laptops locally if proper fiscal policy can be offered to the manufacturers, he said.

A number of world reputed companies are ready to set up factories in Bangladesh if the country offers tax benefits to the local computer and laptop manufacturing companies, said the minister.

Last year, the ministry proposed a 3.32 per cent import tax on laptop and computer - NBR agreed with the proposal.

The issue of imposing taxes on the imported devices has been discussed in a recent meeting of Digital Bangladesh Taskforce, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

In his regard, the posts and telecommunications minister, who was present in the meeting, said members of the taskforce and the prime minister herself had positively discussed the import tax.

The minister expressed hope that the import tax would be imposed from the coming fiscal year.

The government introduced budgetary incentives for the local manufacturing and assembling of handsets in the FY 2017-2018 and carried it forward to the FYs 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.

As a result, a total of 15 brands, including global smartphone vendors Samsung, Symphony, Oppo, Nokia and Realme, started production in Bangladesh.

These brands produce 85 per cent of the smartphones in the local market and meet 55 per cent of the local demand for both smartphones and feature phones.

According to the BTRC, some 26.1 million handsets were manufactured in Bangladesh in FY 2020-21, against 14.9 million in the previous FY 2019-20.

On the other hand, some 15.2 million mobile handsets were imported in FY 2020-21 - 4.6 per cent higher than the import in FY 2019-20.

Once solely import-dependent, Bangladesh is on track to becoming self-reliant in smartphone production, which already captures a major market share with local manufacturing just after four years of inception.

The posts and telecommunications minister said the country now had the capacity to manufacture and assemble locally.

One local company now manufactures and assembles laptops successfully, said Mr Jabbar.

"So, it is possible for others too," he said, expressing the hope that the government in the upcoming budget would adopt the proposed tax structure.

Walton is currently marketing 23 models of laptop, 13 models of desktop, 4 models of monitor along with various models of gaming and standard keyboard and mouse, pen drive and earphone. The prices of Walton laptops range between Tk 19,990 and Tk 79,950.

Walton, after assembling at its plant, exports laptops to Nigeria, Bhutan, Nepal and some other countries. The company has an annual target of selling 100,000 units of laptops while it produces pen drives, keyboards and mouses at its plant.

Currently, there is no tax on the import of computers which was introduced in 1998.

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Income Tax Wing of NBR racing to meet target in last 4 months of fiscal

The revenue collection target from the Income Tax Wing for the 2020-21 fiscal is Tk103,945.10 crore


May 7, 2022 3:47 PM

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has taken a tougher move to increase its collection from the Income Tax Wing by expanding its net and realising outstanding taxes, as in the first eight months of the current fiscal it collected just over 50% of its target for the fiscal.

The revenue collection target from the Income Tax Wing for the 2020-21 fiscal is Tk103,945.10 crore. But, according to available data from the NBR, till February of this year, the wing has been able to collect only Tk 52,854.37 crore. It means the rest, an almost equal amount of Tk51,090.7 crore, has to be collected in just 4 months.

In February, the 8th month of the fiscal, the NBR collected Tk6,446.87 crore, almost 10% more than the corresponding month in 2021, when it collected Tk 5882.03.

The collection in the first 8 months of the current fiscal, is 13.3% higher than what it was in the first 8 months of the last fiscal.

According to the NBR sources, the Board has directed the tax commissioners to bring all eligible persons and organisations under the tax net and to take initiatives to remove the phobia regarding hassle in tax payment.

It also asked to intensify the tax survey and activate the inactive TIN numbers as submitting income tax returns has been made mandatory for every TIN holder from this fiscal.

The Income Tax Wing of the NBR has already given necessary directives to the field offices in these regards.

As a part of the internal survey, the field level officials are collecting possible taxpayer information from city corporations, Rajuk and similar organisations, and sub-registrar offices. This is popularly called ‘secondary data’. Secondary data refers to the information of the individuals that are already kept in any organisation.

The NBR has also started to collect information about the potential taxpayers at the upazila level through secondary data gathering, otherwise known as the internal survey.

For example, a file of ‘X’ company mentions that it has 450 employees. The concerned official can ask for the names of the 450 employees and their TIN numbers.

With this little move, the NBR can find out the eligible taxpayers’ names and bring them under the tax net, if they are not already.

“This is called an internal survey,” a senior NBR official explained to UNB.

In this connection, he said that at first, the NBR is taking information about the trade licences that have been issued by the city corporations and municipalities.

Later, TIN will be issued in their names to bring them under the tax net and collect revenue from them.

Besides, he mentioned that the NBR is taking information on foreigners from Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), vehicle owners from the BRTA, and land buying and selling information from the sub-registry offices, power distribution offices and service-oriented offices.

Information about the flat and house owners is also being taken from the National Housing Authority, the NBR official said.

All these efforts would help NBR identify the eligible taxpayers who are still staying out of the tax net.

"We hope that by this we will be able to net the affluent section of society who are evading tax," he added.

According to the NBR sources, the NBR officials generally collect information about the potential taxpayers through a door-to-door survey. A senior official of the NBR said that field officials have been asked to conduct their survey to maintain health safety issues.

The total revenue target for the NBR for fiscal 2021-22 has been set at Tk330,078 crore.

Of the total target, the VAT wing will contribute the lion's share with Tk127,745 crore.

The target for Income Tax and Tax on Profit has been set at Tk104,952 crore. The Income Tax Wing will contribute Tk103,945.10 crore.

The revenue collection from import duty will be Tk37,807.18 crore, Tk55,225.26 crore from Supplementary Duty, Tk55.45 crore from export duty, Tk3,685.69 crore from Excise Duty, Tk1,529.90 crore from travel tax while Tk1,050 crore from other taxes and duties.

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Jasim Uddin

08 May, 2022, 12:15 pm

Last modified: 08 May, 2022, 01:45 pm

Corporate tax cuts likely in next budget


The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has proposed a reduction in corporate tax rate in the forthcoming fiscal year to make breathing space for businesses.

The corporate tax rate was slashed to 30% from 32.5% for non-listed companies, and for the listed ones it was reduced to 22.5% from 25% in the current fiscal 2021-22.

The revenue board has also proposed increasing the penalty for non-compliant companies, while it is willing to reduce the penalty on delayed submission of VAT and tax returns.

The board has made these proposals in a draft of revenue budget structure for the fiscal 2022-23 aiming to promote local manufacturing industries and bring an ease to consumers, according to sources.

The new budget draft also includes a number of proposals to expand the tax net without increasing tax rates.

Senior officials of the NBR led by its chairman will meet Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal today and tomorrow and the prime minister on 12 May to finalise the draft of revenue budget structure, the sources told The Business Standard.

According to the current tax structure, the rate of corporate tax is 37.5% for listed banks and those approved after 2013, and 40% for non-listed banks, and 37.50% for merchant banks.

Manufacturers of cigarettes, jorda, gul and other tobacco products have to pay a 45% corporate tax, while listed mobile operators have to pay 40% and non listed operators 45% tax.

One Person Company (OPC) tax rate is 25% while it is 15% for textile mills, registered cooperative societies and private universities.

Currently, undisclosed money is allowed for investments in stocks but on condition of paying 25% tax plus a 5% fine.

Manufacturers of cigarettes, jorda, gul and other tobacco products have to pay a 45% corporate tax, while listed mobile operators pay 40% and an additional 20% on dividend income.

Besides, apparel exporters have to pay a 12% corporate tax and it is 10% for green factories.

Senior officials involved with this process mentioned that the new budget will take a number of initiatives to ease business environment and business cost, as well as to reduce the cost of living for people to cope the inflation as considered as various commodities prices already hiked due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and upcoming challenges duce the country is scheduled to graduate to a developing country by 2026.

The new budget may continue to allow untaxed money in the stock market, flats, land, bank deposit, and savings instruments, and cash.

Sources said the NBR officials concerned, led by the board's chairman, held several meetings to review the budget proposals received in pre-budget discussions with different trade bodies, professionals and private agencies and prepared the draft tax structure after closely evaluating all those proposals.

The NBR will now meet the finance minister and the prime minister to discuss the draft, they said, adding the next budget will be finalized after those crucial meetings.

The sources further said every time the prime minister gives directives on important issues. For example, the prime minister decides on tax-free income limits, corporate tax rates, and investment of black money in the capital market. These will be finalised upon her advice in this year's budget as well.

Apart from this, the prime minister will give directions on whether the VAT-tax exemption facility will be increased to keep the prices of import dependent commodities, especially soybean oil, within the purchasing power of the people, they added.

She will also decide on tariff reduction for olive oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, and canola oil, the sources continued.

The NBR has set the revenue collection target for fiscal year 2022-23 at Tk3,70,000 crore.

According to the NBR sources, Tk1,22,100 crore, which is 33% of the total revenue collection target, will be collected as income tax, while Tk1,36,900 crore will be collected as value added tax (VAT), and Tk1.11 lakh crore as customs duty, which are 37% and 30% of total revenue targets, respectively.

The target is 12% higher than the current fiscal year's target of Tk3,30,000 crore. The NBR managed to achieve 53% of the target till February this year.

These targets can be achieved in the existing tax structure as trade and commerce has gained momentum overcoming the Covid-induced slowdown, officials said, adding that the authorities have, therefore, moved away from the thought of raising the tax rates.

Mentioning that the next budget will be similar to the current budget, they also said among the new initiatives will be an attempt to revive the local industry with tax breaks.

In this regard, close scrutiny is on to find out which sectors can be provided with the tax breaks, they said.

Among the domestic industries, electronics, motorcycles, steel, packaging, small and medium industries will see imposition of new taxes. On the other hand, there will be initiatives to ease doing business by strengthening automation activities.

The sources also mentioned that special emphasis will be given to virtual economy, transfer pricing cell, and audit activities to increase tax collection. For this, a new section will be added in the income tax law. Above all, the income tax law will be made business-friendly by updating it.

In addition, there will be guidelines for increasing irregularities in the prevention of misuse of bonds, installation of EFDs (electronic fiscal devices) to curb VAT evasion, and roster-based deployment of monitoring officers.

NBR officials feel if the tax-free income limit is increased, a large number of people will be excluded from the scope of income tax. So, the NBR is against raising this limit. As it is more of a "political decision" than a policy decision, it is the prime minister who has always made decisions in this regard, they added.

Nevertheless, very little revenue is collected from individual taxpayers. Most income tax is levied as source tax, the rest from corporate tax and advance income tax.

According to official data, the latest tax-free income limit was increased in the budget for FY16.

That time, the tax-free income limit for services was increased from Tk2.2 lakh to Tk2.5 lakh.

Since then, the tax-free income limit had been kept unchanged until the current fiscal.

Currently, annual income of up to Tk3 lakh is exempted from tax payment and the ceiling is likely to prevail for next year.

The NBR hiked the tax-free income threshold from Tk2.5 lakh after five years to give relief to people in the lower-income bracket such that they can better manage the economic hardship brought on by the pandemic.

Trade and professional organisations have kept urging the NBR not to increase the tax-free income limit, even though the standard of living has increased.

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TBS Report

08 May, 2022, 10:15 pm

Last modified: 08 May, 2022, 10:19 pm

Chattogram customs fines importer Tk1 cr for false declaration


The Chattogram Customs House Sunday fined a Dhaka-based importer M/S NB Traders Tk1,36,99000 for trying to evade duty through false declaration.

In the declaration, NB Traders said to have imported five containers of Coated Calcium Carbonate. During physical examination, the Chattogram Customs found Dextrose Monohydrate instead of the declared item after the containers reached the port.

According to the declaration form, the amount of the duty of the declared item was only Tk6,82,733. 


The Chattogram Customs sources said that the consignment reached to the Chattogram port from China on 18 March. C&F agent MN Enterprise submitted the bill of entry on behalf of the importer on 30 March. 

On tip off, the audit, investigation and research (AIR) unit of Chattogram Customs House halted the release of the consignment by locking the bill of entry. On 6 April, the AIR team examined the consignment by opening containers at the port.  

On 8 May, AIR unit Deputy Commissioner Sharfuddin Miah said that they found 4,800 sacks inside which there was dextrose monohydrate weighing 120 tons and not coated calcium carbonate which were printed on the paper. The estimated value of the item is Tk54,77000.

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Reyad Hossain

09 May, 2022, 10:55 pm

Last modified: 10 May, 2022, 12:35 pm

Good revenue growth on rising prices of imported goods

In the meantime, the NBR is going to set a relatively large revenue target for fiscal 2022-23

The rise in commodity prices in the world market has led to an increase in duty on imported goods, which has kept the government's revenue collection in a more comfortable position than last year.

According to the latest figures released by the National Board of Revenue (NBR), the revenue collection in the first nine months through March of fiscal 2021-22 has increased by about 14.5% over the same period of the previous fiscal year.

This growth is more than the average growth of the last five years for the same period.

Despite this, the NBR is not in a comfortable position because if the revenue collection increases at this pace, the government's target for the current financial year will not be achieved, economists and even the officials of the revenue department think.

In the meantime, the NBR is going to set a relatively large revenue target for fiscal 2022-23.

Economists say the rise in commodity prices in the international market has played a bigger role than the NBR in achieving nearly 14.5% growth in revenue.

Towfiqul Islam Khan, senior research fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), told The Business Standard, "The increase in commodity prices in the international market has played a bigger role in the growth of revenue."

The revenue statistics say the same thing. According to the NBR, the highest growth during the period under review was at the import duty level, at around 21%. At the same time, value-added tax (VAT) and income tax collection increased by 9.94% and 14.09% respectively.

Towfiqul Islam Khan thinks that at the rate at which import expenditure has increased, the collection of import duty should have been done at a higher rate.

According to the latest calculations of the Bangladesh Bank, imports have increased by 43% in the first nine months of the current financial year.

However, Benapole Customs House Commissioner Md Azizur Rahman said, "A large number of duty-free goods or goods with less duty have been imported in the current financial year. Of the imported items, products used in big government projects were big in number."


Despite the good pace of revenue collection, if the current pace is ensured, the revenue collection target will not be achieved in the next three months till June, in which case there may be a deficit of around Tk30,000 crore from the target.

However, the CPD's senior research fellow thinks that relieving the common people from the pressure of inflation in revenue collection will be a big challenge for the NBR in the future.

He said there would be challenges for the NBR in the future on three issues. In addition to relieving average consumers from inflationary pressures, the question is whether the NBR will be able to withdraw tax exemptions and prevent tax evasion.

However, the NBR has already withdrawn or reduced the VAT, to ease some of the pressure relating to the rise in edible oil and sugar prices in the world market.

Despite this, consumers have to buy edible oil at almost double the price of last year.

A senior NBR official told TBS that the government has made big concessions on corporate over the last two years. Apart from this, VAT has been exempted in some sectors. Sugar and edible oil have been exempted from VAT. Otherwise, the growth in revenue collection would have been more.

He said the collection is relatively high towards the end of the financial year. With that in mind, even if the current growth rate increases further, the target may not be achieved in the end.

Economists, however, boldly identify several challenges for failing to meet the revenue collection target.

These are the inability to implement the reform agenda of the NBR, the inability to bring a huge amount of money into the government exchequer due to the inability to prevent tax evasion and the huge amount of tax exemption in various sectors.

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Bangladesh Bank issues clarification on operating foreign currency accounts

Published:  May 11, 2022 19:59:23 | Updated:  May 11, 2022 22:11:58

Bangladesh Bank, in a clarification, said that non-resident Bangladeshis can open foreign currency accounts (FCA) in any scheduled banks in the country and any amount of money can be deposited with those accounts without permission from the central bank.

If the expatriates bring any amount of cash, dollars or other foreign currencies during arrival, they can deposit it with their bank accounts and exchange it for local currency. The expatriates can deposit $10,000 to their accounts without declaring it to the customs authorities.

The central bank issued a notification in this regard on Tuesday to inform people and remove the confusion over the free transferring of foreign currency abroad, reports UNB.

Under the existing foreign exchange transaction policy, Bangladeshis living abroad can operate private foreign currency accounts or non-resident foreign currency deposit accounts in the country’s banks.

Any amount of foreign currencies sent from abroad or brought to Bangladesh from abroad can be deposited with these accounts without question.

Besides, expatriates during departure can take abroad the money with them in the form of cash, a maximum amount of $ 5,000 and other foreign currency as required subject to the status of balance in the account.

The status of these foreign currency accounts operated in the name of expatriates or non-resident Bangladeshis can be freely sent abroad with interest. In this case, no approval from Bangladesh Bank is required


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TBS Report

11 May, 2022, 09:15 pm

Last modified: 11 May, 2022, 10:55 pm

Runner Auto sued for Tk15.59cr VAT evading

The case was filed following a raid by the VAT intelligence directorate into Runner Auto’s head office last March



The VAT Audit, Intelligence & Investigation Directorate has filed a case against Runner Automobiles Ltd for allegedly evading more than Tk15 crore in VAT by concealing product sales information.

VAT Intelligence said in a statement on Wednesday that the company had been sued for discrepancies in the actual sale price and return filings in the last five years.

Runner Auto, the two-wheeler pioneer of the country, will now have to pay Tk20.85 crore to the government.

Runner Auto officials have declined the allegation, saying the company has been compliant with all relevant rules and laws.

The case was filed following a raid by the VAT intelligence directorate into Runner Auto's head office last March in response to a complaint from a buyer who wished to remain anonymous, officials said.

In a statement, the VAT intelligence directorate said Runner Auto has evaded Tk15.59 crore in VAT by hiding sales of Tk70.47 crore from July 2016 to June 2021.

According to the VAT Act, the company now has to pay the evaded amount along with a monthly interest of 2%.

Meanwhile, Runner Auto officials said the company has been doing business in compliance with applicable laws.

"We are saddened by the sudden shock of case filing," said Runner Automobiles Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Shanat Datta.

"We have been cooperating with the VAT Intelligence officials by providing detailed documents on time. The case was filed on the very day when we submitted our last batch of documents they asked for," he added.

Asked about the consequences, the finance head of the listed firm said, "Since we are confident that we have been doing business in a compliant way, we do not have any such provision for the asked amount."   

Runner made over Tk900 crore contribution to the national exchequer in the five fiscal years up to 2020-21, of which VAT was Tk154.31 crore, Shanat Datta said, adding that "the claimed figure of Tk15.59 crore in VAT evasion must be a misunderstanding." 

The company has two options now – paying the claimed amount as a total of unpaid VAT, and the accrued interest on the figure, or going for an appeal. Shanat opined that his firm will take the appeal route.

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রিয়াদ হোসেন & জসীম উদ্দীন

22 May, 2022, 02:50 pm

Last modified: 22 May, 2022, 02:52 pm

দেশে উৎপাদিত এপিআ

এপিআই এবং ল্যাবরেটরি রিএজেন্টে স্বনির্ভরতা অর্জনে এবং বিদেশি বিনিয়োগ আকৃষ্ট করার লক্ষ্যে এপিআই উৎপাদকদের এ সুবিধা দেওয়া হবে।


ওষুধ তৈরির কাঁচামালের প্রাপ্তি সহজলভ্য করতে সরকার এবার দেশের অ্যাকটিভ ফার্মাসিউটিক্যাল ইনগ্রেডিয়েন্ট (এপিআই) এর প্রস্তুতকারকদের বিক্রি বা সরবরাহ পর্যায়ে মূল্য সংযোজন কর (ভ্যাট) অব্যাহতি দিতে যাচ্ছে। 

আগামী বাজেটে এমন ঘোষণা আসতে পারে বলে অর্থ মন্ত্রণালয়ের সংশ্লিষ্ট সূত্র জানিয়েছে। আগামী ৯ জুন সংসদে ২০২২-২৩ অর্থবছরের জাতীয় বাজেট পেশ করার সময় এ ছাড়ের ঘোষণা দিতে পারেন অর্থমন্ত্রী।

বর্তমানে, স্থানীয় এপিআই উৎপাদকদের বিক্রি বা উৎপাদন পর্যায়ে ১৫% ভ্যাট দিতে হয়। 

এনবিআর সূত্র জানায়, এপিআই এবং ল্যাবরেটরি রিএজেন্টে স্বনির্ভরতা অর্জনে এবং বিদেশি বিনিয়োগ আকৃষ্ট করার লক্ষ্যে এপিআই উৎপাদকদের জন্য রাজস্ব বোর্ড ভ্যাট অব্যাহতি সুবিধা নিয়ে এসেছে। তবে, এই সুযোগটি পেতে উদ্যোক্তাদের কিছু শর্ত মানতে হবে বলে উল্লেখ করেন তারা। 


সংশ্লিষ্টরা মনে করেন, সরকার দেশীয় উৎপাদকদের ভ্যাট অব্যাহতি দিলে স্থানীয় উৎপাদকরা প্রতযোগিতামূলক মূল্যে ঔষধ প্রস্তুতকারক কোম্পনিগুলোকে সরবরাহ করতে পারবে। কারণ একই ধরনের এপিআই আমদানি করতে গেলে তাদেরকে আমদানি পর্যায়ে ১৫% হারে ভ্যাট দিতে হয়

বর্তমানে একটিভ ফাইন কেমিক্যালস লিমিটেডের দেশের শীর্ষ পর্যায়ের বেশকিছু ওষুধ প্রস্তুতকারক কোম্পানির কাঁচামালও তৈরি করে। তবে বাকি কোম্পানিগুলো শুধু নিজস্ব ব্যবহারের জন্যই মূলত ওই কাঁচামাল তৈরি করে।

বাংলাদেশ অ্যাসোসিয়েশন অব ফার্মাসিউটিক্যাল ইন্ডাস্ট্রিজের মতে, দেশের ওষুধ কোম্পানিগুলোর প্রায় ৭,০০০ কোটি টাকার কাঁচামালের চাহিদা আছে এবং এই বাজার বছরে ১২% হারে বাড়ছে। স্থানীয় কোম্পানিগুলো বর্তমানে ৪০০-৫০০ কোটি টাকার ফার্মাসিউটিক্যাল কাঁচামাল তৈরি করে।

বাংলাদেশ অ্যাসোসিয়েশন অব ফার্মাসিউটিক্যাল ইন্ডাস্ট্রিজের মহাসচিব এস এম শফিউজ্জামান,  সরকারের এ উদ্যোগকে স্বাগত জানিয়েছেন। দ্য বিজনেস স্ট্যান্ডার্ডকে তিনি বলেন, ভ্যাট অব্যাহতির সুবিধা দেওয়া হলে স্থানীয় বিনিয়োগ উৎসাহিত হবে এবং রপ্তানিও বাড়বে।

সরকারের এই উদ্যোগকে 'ইতিবাচক পদক্ষেপ' হিসেবে দেখছেন অ্যাক্টিভ ফাইন কেমিক্যালস লিমিটেডের ব্যবস্থাপনা পরিচালক সাইফুর রহমানও।

তিনি উল্লেখ করেন, দেশের বাজার এখনো আমদানির নির্ভর হওয়ায় আর আন্তর্জাতিক বাজারেও এই পণ্যগুলোর ব্যাপক চাহিদা থাকায় এই খাতটির বৃদ্ধির বিপুল সম্ভাবনা আছে। 

তিনি আরও বলেন, মহামারি চলাকালীন যখন চীন ও ভারতের কিছু কোম্পানি পণ্য সরবরাহ করতে পারছিল না, সে দুই বছরে  তার কোম্পানি ফার্মাসিউটিক্যাল কাঁচামালের বিপুল সংখ্যক রপ্তানি আদেশ পেয়েছে।

ফার্মাসিউটিক্যাল খাতের  ব্যাকওয়ার্ড লিংকেজ হিসেবে  এপিআই খাতের বছরে ২০ শতাংশ প্রবৃদ্ধির সম্ভাবনা আছে বলে উল্লেখ করেন তিনি। 

২০৩৩ সাল থেকে বিশ্ব বাণিজ্য সংস্থার 'মেধাস্বত্ব চুক্তি(ট্রিপস)' অনুযায়ী পেটেন্ট ছাড়ের সুবিধা পাবে না বাংলাদেশ। 

এ কারণে গত কয়েক বছর ধরে এপিআইতে দেশকে স্বয়ংসম্পূর্ণ করার আলোচনা জোরালো হয়েছে। এ লক্ষ্যে সরকারও সহযোগিতা দেওয়া বাড়াচ্ছে।

ন্যাশনাল অ্যাকটিভ ফার্মাসিউটিক্যাল ইনগ্রিডিয়েন্ট অ্যান্ড ল্যাবরেটরি রিএজেন্ট প্রোডাকশন অ্যান্ড এক্সপোর্ট পলিসি, ২০১৮ এর আলোকে ২০৩২ সালের মধ্যে ওষুধের কাঁচামাল উৎপাদনে স্বয়ংসম্পূর্ণতা অর্জনের লক্ষ্যমাত্রা স্থির করে সরকার। 

এ নীতিমালা অনুযায়ী, ২০১৯ সাল থেলে কাঁচামাল আমদানিতে ভ্যাট মওকুফ সুবিধা পাচ্ছে স্থানীয় এপিআই উৎপাদকরা।

কিছু শর্ত পূরণ সাপেক্ষে ২০৩২ সাল পর্যন্ত স্থানীয়ভাবে ওষুধের কাঁচামাল উৎপাদন ও ব্যবসায় কর অব্যাহতির সুবিধা পাবেন স্থানীয় উৎপাদকরা। 

এনবিআরের শর্তে বলা হয়েছে, সম্পূর্ণ কর অব্যাহতির সুবিধা পেতে হলে কোম্পানিগুলোকে প্রতি বছর ন্যূনতম পাঁচটি করে নতুন এপিআই মলিকিউল এবং ল্যাবরেটরি রিএজেন্ট স্থানীয়ভাবে উৎপাদন করতে হবে। আর যেসব প্রতিষ্ঠান ন্যূনতম তিনটি পণ্য উৎপাদন করবে তাদের ৭ দশমিক ৫ শতাংশ হারে করপোরেট কর দিতে হবে।

তবে, কেউ যদি ন্যূনতম শর্ত প্রতিপালনে ব্যর্থ হয় তাকে ৩০ শতাংশ হারে কর্পোরেট কর দিতে হবে এবং পুঁজিবাজারে তালিকাভুক্ত প্রতিষ্ঠানের করহার হবে ২২ দশমিক ৫ শতাংশ।

প্রস্তাবনায় আরো বলা হয়েছে, কোম্পানিগুলোকে বার্ষিক টার্নওভারের ন্যূনতম ১ শতাংশ বাধ্যতামূলকভাবে উন্নয়ন ও গবেষণা কাজে ব্যয় করতে হবে। আর এই বরাদ্দ বছর বছর বাড়াতে হবে। তবে কোনো প্রতিষ্ঠান যদি মানহীন কাঁচামাল উৎপাদনের জন্য সরকারের কোনো নিয়ন্ত্রক সংস্থা কর্তৃক জরিমানার ‍শিকার হয়, তবে ওই প্রতিষ্ঠান সেই বছরের অব্যাহতির সুবিধা পাবে না।

বিভিন্ন ওষুধের ক্ষেত্রে এপিআইয়ের খরচ ৩০ থেকে ৫৫ শতাংশ পর্যন্ত হতে পারে। বাংলাদেশ স্থানীয়ভাবে পূর্ণাঙ্গরূপে উৎপাদিত ৯৮ শতাংশ ফার্মাসিউটিক্যাল পণ্যের চাহিদা পূরণ করতে সক্ষম। 

পূর্ণাঙ্গরূপে উৎপাদিত পণ্যের ক্ষেত্রে প্রায় স্বয়ংসম্পূর্ণ হলেও এপিআই ও অন্যান্য কাঁচামালের ৯০ শতাংশই আমদানি করতে হয়। কাঁচামাল আমদানিতে অধিক নির্ভরতার কারণে ফার্মাসিউটিক্যাল শিল্প বেশ ঝুঁকিপূর্ণ। এক্ষেত্রে সাপ্লাই চেইন এবং মূল্য নিয়ে বড় অনিশ্চয়তা কাজ করে।

বর্তমানে, স্কয়ার ফার্মা, বেক্সিমকো ফার্মা, একটিভ ফাইন কেমিক্যালস লিমিটেড, এসিআই লিমিটেড, গ্লোব ফার্মা, গণস্বাস্থ্য ফার্মা, অপসোনিন ফার্মা, ড্রাগ ইন্টারন্যাশনাল এবং এসকায়েফসহ স্থানীয় ১৫ টি প্রতিষ্ঠান ৪০ শতাংশ পর্যন্ত এপিআই উৎপাদন করে। এদের মধ্যে কেবল এক্টিভ ফাইন কেমিক্যালস লিমিটেড পুঁজিবাজারের অন্তর্ভুক্ত যা কোনো সম্পূর্ণ ওষুধ উৎপাদন করে না। গণস্বাস্থ্য ফার্মাসিউটিক্যালস একাই স্থানীয়ভাবে ৬০ শতাংশ এপিআই উৎপাদন করে।

আমেরিকান বহুজাতিক প্রতিষ্ঠান আইকিউভিআইএ-র মতে, দেশের ফার্মাসিউটিক্যাল বাজারের মূল্য ২০২০ সালে ১০ শতাংশের বেশি বার্ষিক প্রবৃদ্ধি নিয়ে ২৭ হাজার কোটি টাকা ছাড়িয়েছে। 

বাংলাদেশি প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলো বছরে প্রায় ১৫০০ কোটি টাকার মেডিসিন রপ্তানিও করে থাকে। তবে, দেশের শীর্ষস্থানীয় ১০টি প্রতিষ্ঠান মোট ওষুধের ৭১ শতাংশ বিক্রি করে।


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Money whitening new bait : Bangladeshi passport holders can avail with penal tax

Provision coming in next finance bill with budget

 Doulot Akter Mala | Published:  May 23, 2022 08:56:13 | Updated:  May 23, 2022 15:56:28


The government envisages fresh baits for repatriating siphoned-off money with a budgetary measure allowing Bangladeshi-passport holders to get their 'black money' whitened with penal tax.

The new measure, first of its kind, may be incorporated into the Finance Bill 2022, to be placed before in parliament on June 9.

Sources concerned say a flat rate of penal tax might be applicable to whitening the money and it will be shown in the tax file of the undisclosed-money holders.

Bangladeshi-passport holders would be able to get their income legalised without facing any question and bring back their money under the provisions, they add.

In the upcoming budget, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) would slash corporate-tax rates for both listed and non-listed companies to facilitate businesses and boost investment amid the slowdown in economic activity and investment.

The tax measures would be placed with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) for final approval of today (Monday), officials said.

However, tax-free ceiling for individual taxpayers may remain unchanged despite erosion of real income of people due to price spiral of essential commodities.

Currently, tax-free threshold for individual taxpayers is Tk 0.3 million.

The ceiling was revised upward in FY 2020-21 after five years.

In the upcoming budget for FY 2022-23, the government may keep it unchanged as upward revision of the limit results in dropout of many existing taxpayers.

The government considers the existing limit consistent with the per-capita income and economic growth.

The tax rates range from minimum 5 per cent to the highest 25 per cent for individual taxpayers is likely to be unchanged.

Currently, corporate tax is 30 per cent for non-listed companies and 22.5 per cent for listed ones.

However, the rates of corporate income tax for banks, mobile operators, tobacco companies and other sectors may remain unchanged.

Currently, corporate income tax rate is 37.5 per cent for banks, insurance and other financial institutions that are listed on the capital market, 40 per cent for non-listed banks, 37.5 per cent for merchant banks, 45 per cent for tobacco companies, 45 per cent for non-listed mobile-phone operators and 40 per cent for listed mobile-phone operators, 15 per cent for cooperative entities and 12 per cent for export-oriented readymade garment factories.

According to Tax Justice Network global Report, Bangladesh loses more than $144 million in tax revenue a year mainly due to corporate- tax abuse and offshore tax evasion.

Of the amount, corporate-tax abuse by multinational corporations causes annual tax losses worth $118 million and individual offshore tax evasion is responsible for the remaining $26 million loss in taxes.

According the Global Financial Integrity report, released in January 2019, the illicit capital outflow went unabated as $5.9 billion was siphoned from Bangladesh in 2015 and a total of $81.74 billion from 2006 to 2016.

"Following growing concern over capital flight from the country and search for ways out to bring back the money, the new measure has been incorporated into the budget," says one source.



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Reyad Hossain

23 May, 2022, 09:30 pm

Last modified: 23 May, 2022, 09:35 pm

Govt may reduce fine on VAT evasion

The tenure for paying interest on delayed VAT payments might be capped at 24 months or 36 months

The government may relax the rules relating to the penalty for VAT evasion and interest on delayed VAT payments in the upcoming national budget to encourage businesses to pay their dues to the state.

Those found guilty of VAT (value-added tax) evasion currently face fines exactly to the tune of the evaded taxes. The amount of this penalty might be reduced by half. On the other hand, the term of interest payment might be capped at 24 months or 36 months, with the monthly interest rate kept unchanged at 1%.

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has put forth a proposal in this regard, NBR sources involved in preparing budget proposals told The Business Standard. If the proposal gets final approval, it may be included in the budget for the fiscal 2022-23 – scheduled to be presented in parliament by the finance minister on 9 June, they added.

The sources mentioned that at present the amount of fine and interest often exceeds the amount of the evaded VAT or the amount claimed by the NBR. Because of this, the companies accused of evading fines opt for moving the court without paying VAT, causing the NBR's collection of revenue to get stuck in limbo.

If the amount of interest and penalty is less, the NBR will have an opportunity to get the evaded VAT easily and quickly, the NBR officials observed, adding, "Basically, the VAT-payers who are not real fraudsters but are in arrears due to a lack of knowledge or owing to making mistakes will be encouraged to pay the government."

VAT officials, however, fear that such an initiative could encourage fraudsters and those who want to delay making government revenue payments.

In FY21, the rate of penalty on any case of VAT evasion was 200%. The rate was brought down to 100% last year.

On the other hand, up until FY21, a VAT payer would have to pay 2% monthly interest on delayed payments of VAT. The rate was reduced to 1% last year. But the amount of interest would go up as the term of payment got longer. In some cases, taxpayers would have to pay large sums of money in fines and interest, other than the NBR-claimed amount. Therefore, the time limit for payment of interest may be reduced in the upcoming budget.

A commissioner of a VAT commissionerate in Dhaka told TBS that the department had served a demand notice for VAT of Tk70 crore on a reputed company in the area. The business organisation went to court challenging the notice. There have been 99 hearings of the case so far since the notice was filed seven years ago, but the court is yet to deliver its verdict.

If the rates of fine and interest are lowered, those who deliberately want to procrastinate in payment of VAT could feel encouraged.

Snehasish Barua, a VAT law expert, and partner at the chartered accountant firm Snehasish Mahmud and Company, told TBS that at one time the rate of penalty on VAT evasion was 50%.

"In our budget proposal, we suggested bringing it back to the previous level and also proposed a reduction in the term of interest payment.

"If our proposal is taken into account, the number of cases will decrease."

Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, senior vice-president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), said this facility could be given considering the current situation. But if it continues for a long time, unscrupulous traders may feel encouraged to engage in tax infringements.

At present, the NBR's claimed revenue of over Tk40,000 crore is stuck in various cases in the High Court and the Appellate Tribunal under the revenue board. Some of these claimed revenues have been pending for more than 10 years.

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23 May, 2022, 10:00 pm

Last modified: 23 May, 2022, 10:06 pm

Rising revenue collection a false dawn, economists say

Revenue sees about 15% growth in the 10 months from July to April of the current fiscal year


Despite some volatility seen in different indicators of the economy, the government has had a comparatively smoother ride in collecting revenue.

This, however, may not mean the picture is as rosy as it appears.

According to estimates by the National Board of Revenue (NRB), collection in the 10 months from July to April of the current fiscal 2021-22 increased by about 15% compared to the same period last year. It is also higher than the average growth in the same period over the last five years.

The NBR has so far collected a little over Tk2.27 lakh crore. Last April, the collection was about Tk23,000 crore. The revenue target for this year has been set at Tk3.30 lakh crore, which is 24% higher than last year.

In order to meet the target, the NBR would have to collect Tk51,000 crore each month for the remaining two months, which economists think is virtually impossible.

Revenue officials termed the growth satisfactory, saying they expected it to grow even higher – up to 17% – in the remaining two months of the fiscal year.

But economists have poured cold water on such an optimistic outlook, chalking the growth down to an increase in the price of imported goods.

According to the latest data released by the Bangladesh Bank, imports increased by 43.5% in the first nine months till March of the current financial year.

A closer inspection of the NBR's figures shows that tariff collection rose due to rising import costs, which played a role in the revenue growth.

The highest growth in the first 10 months was also seen in the collection of duty, which is mainly levied on imported goods.

The lowest growth was registered in the collection of value-added tax (VAT) on sales at a local level.

Towfiqul Islam Khan, senior research fellow at the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), told The Business Standard that the growth in revenue could not be termed satisfactory as it was a result of increasing prices of imported goods.

The growth in income was basically price-driven and not down to the efficiency of the NBR.

He also pointed out that even with the growth, there could be a deficit of around Tk28,000-30,000 crore from the target at the end of the fiscal year.

Predicting harder times ahead, Towfiqul said the pressure on both subsidies and other government spending would increase. To deal with this, it was necessary to increase administrative efficiency of the NBR and increase collection by curbing tax evasion.

For the upcoming budget, he suggested lowering the commodity price tax, raising the tax-free income limit, reducing exemptions for large industries and avoiding corporate tax reduction.

Towidhul is not alone in reaching this conclusion.

Muhammad Abdul Majid, former NBR chairman, also said that the increase in the price of imported goods led to an increase in import duty, which subsequently increased the government's revenue collection.

He told TBS that this resulted in temporary relief in NBR's revenue collection, but the general people were feeling the pinch of rising prices.

He said given the current state of the economy, there was no prospect of making dramatic progress in revenue collection, especially VAT, in the remaining months.

In the 2020-21 financial year, the NBR collected Tk2.66 lakh crore.

Meanwhile, the NBR's revenue target for the 2022-23 financial year is going to be Tk3.70 lakh crore.

The NBR collected a little over Tk23,000 crore last April. Collections were around Tk23,000 crore and Tk27,000 crore in last year's February and March.

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Jasim Uddin

24 May, 2022, 12:30 am

Last modified: 24 May, 2022, 12:30 am

Corporates go cashless…tax cut on cards

NBR proposes 2.5 percentage point corporate tax cut for listed, non-listed and one-person companies in FY23



The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has proposed that corporate tax rates be slashed by 250 basis points in the upcoming fiscal year, subject to maintaining cashless transactions.

Listed and non-listed and one-person companies will come under the purview of the new tax cut from the next fiscal year, according to finance ministry officials. However, they will have the option to maintain Tk1 lakh in petty cash a month as per the new conditions.

To enjoy this facility, listed-companies will have to comply with another condition of publicly offloading at least 10% of their shares.

Welcoming this move, business leaders say the conditional cut in corporate tax will promote cashless society and empower general investors in publicly-listed and one-person companies.

It will also make breathing space for businesses amid the ongoing inflationary pressure caused by volatile commodity markets globally, which has further been fuelled by the Russia-Ukraine war, they add. 

It will be the third time in a row that the corporate sector is going to enjoy this facility. In FY21 and FY22, the government offered corporate tax cuts to help businesses deal with pandemic-induced losses.

The corporate tax rate will be reduced to 20% from 22.5% for listed companies, 27.5% from 30% for non-listed companies and 22.5% from 25% for one-person companies in the fiscal 2022-23, according to the Finance Ministry sources.

Senior officials of the NBR led by its chairman had met with Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal and the prime minister to finalise the new revenue structure, according to sources in the know about the development.

The finance minister is scheduled to present the next fiscal year's budget in the parliament on 9 June. 

In the current fiscal year's budget, corporate tax was cut to 22.5% from 25% for listed companies and to 30% from 32.5% for non-listed companies.

Dhaka Chamber of commerce and industry President Rizwan Rahman told The Business Standard, "We always appreciate corporate tax reduction, it will give us an edge over our competitor countries."

The private sector has been demanding cuts in corporate tax rates for the last few years as some additional tariff will be imposed on it after the LDC graduation in 2026, he said.

"If we do not take necessary preparations right now, it will put more burdens on businesses," he noted.

The corporate tax cut of another 2.5 percentage points will draw in more foreign direct investment into Bangladesh. The rising dollar price will also come into play in this regard, he said.

Mentioning that cost of doing business and ease of doing business have remained as major concerns for Bangladesh, he pointed out that FDI in the country should be a minimum 5% of GDP.

Contacted, Kamal Quadir, chief executive officer at bKash, told TBS that the corporate tax cut on condition of maintaining cashless transactions would be inspiring for everyone, including subscribers, merchants, service providers, financial institutions as well as MFS operators. 

It is also a recognition of the government's commitment towards strengthening an inclusive digital payment ecosystem, he said. 

"With our innovative technology, customer-centric financial services and extensive agent-merchant network, bKash has already established an infrastructure for everyone, including other MFS and financial institutions. The MFS sector is strongly contributing to the country's GDP, which will continue to grow," Kamal Quadir pointed out.

Five listed companies don't offload 10% shares

According to the Dhaka stock exchange website, 343 companies have been listed publicly, but five of them, such as Bangladesh Services Limited, Rupali Bank, state-owned Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB), Berger Paints Bangladesh Ltd and Walton, do not comply with a minimum 10% share offloading condition. 

State-owned Bangladesh Services Limited, owner of Hotel InterContinental Dhaka, offloaded only 0.4% of its shares, while two other state-owned organisations, ICB and Rupali Bank, publicly offloaded 3.5% and 9.81% shares respectively.  

Coating giant Berger Paints Bangladesh Ltd was listed on the capital market in 2006 through offloading only a 5% stake to general investors.   

Rupali Chowdhury, managing director at Berger Paint Bangladesh Ltd, told TBS that it will be a good move that will encourage companies to offload their shares and get listed on the stock market.

Any companies will calculate how much impact the offloading will have on their profit growth, she noted.

Berger is already in a process to offload the remaining 5% share as per the guidelines of Bangladesh Security Exchange Commission, she said.

In 2020, Walton Hi-Tech Industries PLC was listed on the stock exchange by offloading less than 1% share. The company had given assurance to offload their minimum 10% shares by 2025. The stock market regulator also approved the company's proposal.

What is a one-person company?

In FY22's budget, the government took initiative to introduce the one-person company concept by reducing its corporate tax to 25% from 32.5% for such companies, considering them as non-listed private companies formed under the Companies Act. In the next fiscal year, they will enjoy a further 250 basis point cut on condition of going for cashless transactions.

According to the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms, 74 One-Person Companies have registered with the regulator in the current fiscal year. 

According to the Companies (Second Amendment) Bill-2020, a single-person company has to have a minimum paid-up capital of Tk25 lakh and a maximum of Tk5 crore. The minimum turnover of such a company will have to be Tk1 crore-Tk50 crore.

Current corporate tax structure

According to the current tax structure, the corporate tax rate is 25.5% for listed companies and 30% for non-listed ones, while single-person company's tax rate is 25%. The rate is 15% for textile mills, registered cooperative societies and private universities.

The rate of corporate tax is 37.5% for listed banks and those approved after 2013, and 40% for non-listed banks, and 37.50% for merchant banks.

Manufacturers of cigarettes, jorda, gul and other tobacco products have to pay a 45% corporate tax, while listed mobile operators have to pay 40% and non-listed operators pay a 45% tax and an additional 20% on dividend income.

 Besides, apparel exporters have to pay a 12% corporate tax and it is 10% for green factories.

Revenue collection target for new fiscal year

The NBR has set the revenue collection target for fiscal year 2022-23 at Tk3,70,000 crore.

According to the NBR sources, Tk1,22,100 crore will be collected as income tax, Tk1,36,900 crore as value added tax and Tk1,11,000 crore as customs duty. 

The target is 12% higher than the current fiscal year's target of Tk3,30,000 crore. The NBR managed to achieve 53% of the target till February this year.

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Saving forex reserves from depletion

200 products being listed for regulatory duty hike

• NBR issues SRO today • No docs for incentives on remittance of over $5000

 DOULOT AKTER MALA | Published:  May 24, 2022 08:37:24 | Updated:  May 24, 2022 13:19:33


Bangladesh ramps up belt-tightening measures to save its foreign-exchange reserves with two more fiscal interventions like increase in regulatory duty on over 200 import items and relaxing remittance rules.

Officials say the government's revenue board has decided to slap additional regulatory taxes to discourage import of this large slew of commodities.

The customs wing of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) makes the move attuned to government austerity measures aimed at keeping country's foreign-exchange reserves stable -- evidently in the wake of a global financial and commodity-supply-chain crises as well as continuing depreciation of the local currency against the US dollar.

Fresh flowers and fruits, cosmetics, and home appliances might be on the prohibitive list of products, sources concerned say.

The customs policy wing of the NBR has finalised the list of products and sent it to the Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs for vetting.

A Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) could be issued today (Tuesday) making the newly imposed taxes effective until June 30, 2022, sources said.

As per the Customs Act 1969, the NBR is authorised to impose Regulatory Duty (RD) without parliament's consent, in order to deal with exigencies.

Currently, the highest rate of RD is 35 per cent. Import products that are subject to 25-percent Customs Duty (CD) are automatically also bound to pay at least 3.0-percent RD under the customs act.

A total of 3,408 products are subject to payment of RD in import stages, according to customs tariff lines.

Officials say already there are high duties on the items categorised as non-essential and luxury items.

"Now, considering the current situation, the government would revise it upward following instructions from government high-ups," says one official.

Recently -- obviously as Sri Lanka became an international debt defaulter with reserves plummeting to naught -- Pakistan imposed a complete ban on the import of more than three dozen non-essential luxury items as part of an emergency economic plan to stabilise the tenuous economy.

A senior official of the NBR says Bangladesh is not in a vulnerable state now to ban import of products like automobiles, mobile phones.

"Rather, imposition of additional taxes would bring some revenue and discourage import of those products automatically," he notes about the two-pronged objectives intended.

As per estimation of the NBR, the upward revision of RD would generate an additional amount of Tk 10 billion in taxes from imports of those products.

Earlier, the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the NBR and the Bangladesh Bank had agreed to take some measures for containing the country's imports following other South Asian countries' economic stresses.

On May 19, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina instructed the commerce ministry, the finance ministry and the central bank to come up with comprehensive measures within two to three days against the volatile dollar market and skyrocketing commodity prices.

Amid the decline in the country's foreign-exchange reserves, the Bangladesh Bank has already imposed high margins against opening letter of credit (LC) for importing luxury and non-necessary goods to contain the surge in import payments.

Amid dearth of dollar, meanwhile, the county's central bank went on devaluing the taka against the US currency.

Due to devaluation, dropping to Tk 87.5 per US dollar in May from Tk 84.8 last August, the finance division suspended overseas trips of government officials to reduce the pressures on forex reserves.

As per central bank's order, importers of cars and home appliances will need a deposit of 75 per cent of the payment in advance while opening letters of credit. It ordered the banks to raise the cash margin for these products. For imports of other non-essential products, the margin has been set at 50 per cent.

Country's foreign-exchange reserves dropped to nearly $42 billion for increase in import-payment requirements from $48.04 billion in August last calendar year.

Alongside limiting the outflow of the dollar, the government relaxed the incentives rule to augment the inflow of the greenback. To encourage large inflow of remittance through legal channel, the central bank lifted the provision of mandatory submission of documents for availing 2.5-per cent cash incentives on inward remittances of over US$5000 or Tk 500,000.

The Bangladesh Bank Monday issued a circular bending the rule for indefinite period. "From now on, migrant workers can get the incentives without submitting any document to the exchange houses abroad," it says.

The BB asked all the scheduled banks to execute the decision forthwith from May 23, 2022 and this latest provision will be available "until further notice".

The move comes in the wake of substantial decline in the remittance inflows. Official figures show that the inflow of remittance dropped over 16 per cent to $17.31 billion during the July-April period of the current fiscal year (FY), 2021-22, from $20.66 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.

Sector-insiders say the inward remittance has decreased as hundi and other illegal channels became active again after withdrawal of the pandemic-induced travel ban.

Encouraging remittance through legal channel is very vital for the country as demand for foreign currency has grown due to higher import payments.

Bangladesh is witnessing an increase in import of capital machinery, industrial raw-materials, LPG, fuel oils and commodities from the overheating overseas markets, resulting in the ballooning of import payments from the limited reserves.

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Jasim Uddin

26 May, 2022, 09:00 am

Last modified: 26 May, 2022, 03:12 pm

VAT on locally-made mobile phones, fridges on cards

The government has decided to levy VAT on those industries to make them more competitive in the market

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has proposed imposing a 5% VAT on locally-manufactured mobile phones and refrigerators from next fiscal year, according to sources at the finance ministry.

The government has decided to levy VAT on those industries to make them more competitive in the market. It is also a strategy to achieve the revenue collection target by increasing VAT on some products, ministry officials said.

At the same time, the government recommended cutting VAT to 5% from the existing 10% for jewellery traders and 5% from 3% for the restaurant sector.

In the next budget, there will be a number of proposals to make the VAT law business-friendly. In some cases, VAT rates will be reduced to give relief to the people, considering local and global economic conditions, said sources in the know about the development.

The finance minister is scheduled to present the next fiscal year's budget in the parliament on 9 June. 


"We have invested largely in mobile and refrigerator manufacturing to offer products at affordable prices if the government imposes any VAT on those at any stage that will affect its prices," said Mesbah Uddin Ahmed, chief marketing officer at Fair Electronics.

"Prices of raw materials meant for electronic items have risen about 20%, we have to adjust the hike with product prices," he also said, adding that a number of brands have already done that. 

Mesbah Uddin Ahmed said the VAT imposition will also hinder the growth of Digital Bangladesh. 

Rabiul islam Milton, Walton Hi-Tech Industries PLC deputy executive director, said, "We all manufactures are struggling because of raw material price hike. The economy has been facing a slowdown as the local currency has lost its value." 

Rabiul islam urged continuing the current facilities given by the government to cope up with these economic conditions, otherwise manufactures will have to increase the product prices. 

Industry people say local refrigerators manufacturers have been enjoying VAT exemption since 2010. 

Thanks to the government policy support a dozen of industries have developed locally, those occupied around 80% of the market and the remaining 20% belong to foreign brands, according to Marketing Watch Bangladesh.

Before 2010, foreign brands had around 80% share of the refrigerator market with the remaining 20% market being the contribution of aspiring local brands.

The annual market of refrigerators has grown by $131 million in just two years from a $549 million one in 2018, Dhaka University research revealed.

A rapid rise of a middle-income class, increasing numbers of small families and working women amid countrywide electrification and urbanisation, and the localisation of manufacturing have together helped the Bangladesh refrigerator market grow at a double-digit rate over the past decade.

And now the Marketing Watch Bangladesh (MWB), a research initiative of the Dhaka University marketing department, forecasts that the market will reach $900 million in 2022.

Localisation of mobile manufacturing 

According to Bangladesh Mobile Phone Businessmen Association (BMBA) data, 12-13 companies have invested over Tk5,000 crore in manufacturing mobile phones and created more than 1 lakh employment. Yearly production capacity of these companies is more than 4 crore units. 

Those are supplying more than 90% of the market demand.

More companies are waiting for the clearance to go into production with new investments.

Pran RFL Group is gearing up to enter the market after local industrial giants – Fair Electronics, Walton and Edison, and Tecno.   

At least seven global brands, including Samsung, Nokia, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Lava have set up factories in the country in the last three years.

Industry insiders say almost all major brands have set up manufacturing as well as assembling factories in the country due to tariffs on mobile handset imports, tax holiday and VAT exemptions on local products.

The government first introduced a tax policy for local assemblers in the fiscal year 2017-18 and it was revised in every budget till now.

Currently, there is 57% tax on smartphone imports and 32% on basic and feature phones. The tax for locally-assembled and manufactured handsets is 18% and 13% respectively.

Rezwanul Haque, chief executive officer at Transsion Bangladesh Limited, said mobile manufacturers have paid 5% VAT on raw materials at the import stage if the government imposes any VAT on retail sales that might bring a pressure on the industry. 

All types of raw materials saw a 10% increase in prices, she also said, adding that in the current budget, the government offered the local mobile handset manufacturers a VAT waiver at production stage for next two years (till FY23).

"The local mobile phone Industries grow with policy support in any country. It was no different in Bangladesh," noted Rezwanul Haque, a former secretary of Bangladesh Mobile Phone Manufacturing Association.

Flat VAT rate for restaurants

The new budget is also likely to introduce a flat 5% VAT rate for the air conditioned (AC) and non-air conditioned (non-AC) restaurants to revive the sector from the pandemic shocks.

However, the VAT rate for five-star hotels remains at the same rate of 15% for the next fiscal year. 

Ministry officials said the restaurant sector was affected largely by the pandemic and the sector is also under threat due to commodity price hikes.  

Considering the situation, the government decided to support them through fixing a flat VAT rate. 

Welcoming this move, Imran Hasan, general secretary at Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association (BROA), said this VAT rate deduction is one of their major demands.

This is one of the emerging sectors in the country but it was almost drowning in the pandemic situation, he noted. 

According to Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association, there are currently about 60,000 restaurants across the country, with more than 8,000 in the capital alone. Close to 2.8 million people depend on the restaurant industry for their livelihoods, while the number is several times higher if it includes the supportive sectors.

VAT rate cut for Jewellery sector

The new budget has proposed reducing the VAT on the jewellery sector to 3% from 5% to help it flourish.

Welcoming this move, Bangladesh Jewellers Samity General Secretary Dilip Kumar Agarwala said it will make the sector more competitive with neighbouring country India. 

A group of people used to go India to buy jewellery as their VAT rate is 3% on jewellery. 


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Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury

26 May, 2022, 10:10 pm

Last modified: 26 May, 2022, 10:15 pm

Petrobangla owes Ctg customs Tk3,000cr in LNG import duties

Chattogram customs says it will take legal action if Petrobangla does not pay their dues soon



  • Growth in revenue collection at Chattogram Custom House could have been 7% higher by May 2022 if Petrobangla paid its dues on time
  • Chattogram customs sent 10 letters to Petrobangla between 28 February and 18 May this year to collect the dues
  • If Petrobangla does not pay its dues before the end of the current fiscal, the revenue growth will be lower compared to last year


Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla) has not been paying Chattogram Custom House Tk3,017 crore in duties accrued over the past eight months for importing LNG, which has had a negative impact on customs revenue collection.

In a letter sent to Petrobangla on 18 May, Chattogram customs said they would take legal action if Petrobangla does not pay its dues as soon as possible.

Sources said Petrobangla owes the Chattogram Custom House Tk3,017 crore in import duties against 23 bills of entry and 30 import general manifests (IGM) submitted from September 2021 to April 2022.

Petrobangla imports LNG from Qatar and Oman, according to Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Co Ltd, the clearing and forwarding agent in charge of unloading LNG imported by Petrobangla.

Collecting tax on LNG imports at the Chattogram Custom House started in 2018. Since then, the company has imported LNG by about 250 ships – each carrying around 1.45 lakh cubic meters of gas – and paid customs duty for only 190 of those shipments.

Chattogram Custom House Commissioner Mohammad Fakhrul Alam told The Business Standard that Petrobangla's tax arrears have had a negative impact on their revenue collection.

If Petrobangla paid its Tk3,017 crore of dues, revenue collection would have stood at Tk54,255 crore till 24 May and revenue collection growth would have reached 26.54% compared to the previous year. Due to Petrobangla's arrears, 7% growth was lost, he said.

In FY21, Chattogram Custom House achieved its highest revenue collection growth – 23.23% – in the last 25 years. If Petrobangla does not pay its dues before the end of the current fiscal year, growth will be slower compared to last year, according to sources.

Chattogram customs sent 10 letters to Petrobangla between 28 February and 18 May this year to collect on the dues increasing every month, which are expected to increase further by the end of this fiscal.

LNG imported by Petrobangla is directly supplied to the national grid through a pipeline from the FSRU (Floating Structure Regasification Unit) at the Moheshkhali LNG terminal.

Usually imported goods are unloaded after they arrive at the port and the importer submits the bill of entry and pays duty on it. But in the case of LNG, customs clearance is done after unloading it from the ship.

In the letter sent to Petrobangla on 18 May, the customs authorities said unloading goods without submitting a bill of entry and paying taxes due on that, is a criminal offense under customs law and there is provision for imposing fines on unpaid dues, for violating rules and regulations. 

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Corporate e-return comes to ease taxing businesses

To be integrated with DVS on financials

 Doulot Akter Mala |  May 26, 2022 00:00:00


Tasked with pooling higher funds for financing steadily increasing national budget, the revenue authority now moves to automate the corporate tax-return filing for the ease of business taxpayers.

Officials say that effective from fiscal year 2023-24, the 'corporate e-return' system is meant for reducing time and cost of tax-return submission that will bring in more potential taxpayers.

The income tax wing of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) formed a study team Wednesday to do the spadework for introducing the 'corporate e-return'.

It will be put to practice after framing design of the system, business process and possible steps to launch the system.

A senior tax official says the system will be integrated with the Document Verification System (DVS) on financial report so that taxmen can access it all in a gamut.

The NBR formed the nine-member study team comprising senior income-tax officials to recommend modalities of corporate e-return.

Currently, some 30,000 corporate taxpayers submit tax returns to the tax offices out of 167,000 holders of corporate Taxpayer Identification Number.

The tax official says the study team will start consultation with the corporate taxpayers on e-return for them.

Currently, corporate taxpayers need to submit 26 types of documents manually to the tax department.

Submission of corporate tax return involves both cost and time, which is a major reason Bangladesh lagging behind on paying-tax indicator in global rankings.

The income tax official says software will be developed by tax officials for companies like e-return software for individual taxpayers.

"Following impressive response from the individual taxpayers on e-return, the NBR moved ahead for corporate tax-return automation," the official says.

In the current FY, the NBR introduced online tax-return- submission system for individual taxpayers.

Tax officials say gradually both individual and corporate tax returns would be paperless to reduce hassles facing the taxpayers.

"Our target is to minimize physical visit of taxpayers to the tax offices through automation," he adds.

Time for corporate tax return for this year expires on June 15, 2022 as the NBR extended the timeframe to facilitate taxpayers to submit DVS-verified audited financial statements.

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Jasim Uddin

27 May, 2022, 10:50 pm

Last modified: 27 May, 2022, 10:54 pm

Plucking the poultry: New tax regime for the sector on cards

Poultry farm owners with earnings of next Tk10 lakh, will be taxed at 5%, while on annual incomes of over Tk20 lakh, a 10% tax is payable



The poultry industry, which is already in the red with the double whammy of pandemic-induced losses and subsequent hikes in production costs, is going to take another hit as its tax-free income limit is going to be halved to Tk10 lakh from the next fiscal year.

Poultry farm owners with earnings of next Tk10 lakh, will be taxed at 5%, while on annual incomes of over Tk20 lakh, a 10% tax is payable. For the income of over Tk30 lakh, they will have to pay a 15% tax from the existing 10%, said finance ministry officials.

The government plans to bring fish and poultry hatcheries, as well as fish and poultry farming under a single tax slab from next fiscal year. A similar tax structure for fish and poultry hatcheries and fish farming is now in force.

The move comes as the National Board of Revenue looks to plug tax evasion scopes and boost tax collection, said finance ministry officials.

At a time when the corporate sector is being offered tax exemptions, waivers and other policy support, poultry and fish farming entrepreneurs are going to have an added tax burden in FY23, putting a spoke in the wheel of their businesses that are struggling to dispel pandemic blues amid soaring feed and other input prices, say industry insiders.

"Poultry farmers are now running at a loss. Production cost of chicken per kilogram has shot up to Tk122 per kg, but they are having to sell it at Tk120 per kg. In this situation, the government's move to levy more taxes on them is very frustrating," Nazrul Islam, general secretary at Feed Industries Association Bangladesh, told The Business Standard.

"How can the government impose more tax when their survival is at risk?" 

"Prices of feed making raw materials have gone up by 65%, but we could not pass more than 29% of it on to poultry farmers who are already squeezed by pandemic onslaughts," he noted.

Rakibur Rahman Tutul, managing director at Nahar Agro, said the new tax slab will make their survival more difficult, putting roadblocks on the industry's growth.

Many poultry farmers have already been pushed out of business as they could not sustain losses because of high production costs, he noted.

The imposition of regulatory duty on imports of soybean used as a feed making raw material, deeming it as a luxury item, will further exacerbate their woes, said Rakibur.

The entrepreneur also alleged that even if they count losses after making profits a year ago, tax officials are reluctant to accept it. "All in the agro-based industry are at risk of suffering losses anytime no matter what their previous account records are. But we cannot make tax officials accept it," he added.  

Nazrul Islam pointed out that the 5% regulatory duty on soybean imports will lead to a Tk5 rise in chicken production per kg.

A Tk40,000 crore sector

Over the last four decades, the poultry industry has developed into a Tk40,000 crore sector, which was meeting more than 40% of the meat demand in the country. Before the Covid-19 hit, the sector's growth was 12-15%. But, it has suffered a negative growth owing to the pandemic, industry people said.

The rising feed costs have now derailed their efforts to recover from pandemic shocks, they noted.

No good news for individual taxpayers

The tax-free income threshold for individuals  will remain unchanged at Tk3 lakh per annum in the next fiscal year even though soaring inflation continues to hurt their wallets. The last time the tax-exempted limit increased was in FY21 from Tk2.5 lakh.Next unread topic

The NBR is also going to target rural taxpayers by raising the minimum tax to Tk5,000 from Tk3,000.

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বাজেট ২০২২-২০২৩

টিআইএনের দিন শেষ, রিটার্ন না দিলে মিলবে না সেবা

এফ এম আবদুর রহমান মাসুম

২৪ মে ২০২২, ১০:৩৯ এএম


দেশের সামর্থ্যবান মানুষকে করের জালে আনতে বেশ কিছু সেবা গ্রহণে কর শনাক্ত নম্বর (টিআইএন) থাকা বাধ্যতামূলক করা হয়। বর্তমানে প্রায় ৪০ ধরনের সেবা নিতে হলে টিআইএন থাকা বাধ্যতামূলক।

২০১৪ সালে যখন ১৩ ডিজিটের ইলেকট্রনিক ট্যাক্স আইডেন্টিফিকেশন নাম্বার (ই-টিআইএন) চালু করা হয় তখন ২৫ ধরনের সেবায় ই-টিআইএন সার্টিফিকেট বাধ্যতামূলক করা হয়েছিল। যার মধ্যে ছিল- বাড়ি, ফ্ল্যাট, গাড়ি, জমি ক্রয়, ব্যবসা নিবন্ধন সনদ (ট্রেড লাইন্সেস), আমদানি, রপ্তানিসহ ২৫টি সেবা। সময়ের সঙ্গে সঙ্গে ধীরে ধীরে নতুন নতুন সেবা যুক্ত হতে থাকে।

প্রতিবছরই বাজেটে টিআইএন বাধ্যতামূলক করার তালিকায় নতুন নতুন খাত যুক্ত করা হয়। সর্বশেষ ২০২১-২০২২ অর্থবছরের বাজেটেও বেশ কিছু সরকারি সেবা বা কাজের ক্ষেত্রে টিআইএন বাধ্যতামূলক করা হয়।

তবে আগামী ২০২২-২০২৩ অর্থবছর থেকে শুধুমাত্র টিআইএন সার্টিফিকেট দিয়ে ওইসব সেবা নেওয়া যাবে না। প্রস্তাবিত বাজেটে টিআইএন এর স্থলে আয়কর রিটার্ন জমা দেওয়ার রশিদ (প্রাপ্তি স্বীকার বা জমা স্লিপ) বা ট্যাক্স সার্টিফিকেট বাধ্যতামূলক করা হচ্ছে। অর্থাৎ প্রায় ৪০ ধরনের সেবা পেতে হলে রিটার্ন জমা না দেওয়ার বিকল্প থাকবে না করদাতাদের।

এর প্রধান লক্ষ্য বর্তমানে নিবন্ধিত প্রায় ৮০ লাখ টিআইএনধারীকে করনেটের আওতায় আনা। করের আওতা বৃদ্ধি করতে ও প্রত্যক্ষ কর আদায়ে আরও গতি আনতে এমন প্রস্তাব দেওয়া হয়েছে। যা অর্থমন্ত্রণালয়সহ নীতি নির্ধারক পর্যায়ে অনুমোদন দেওয়া হয়েছে বলে জানা গেছে। এনবিআরের ঊর্ধ্বতন এক কর্মকর্তা বিষয়টি নিশ্চিত করেছেন।

যদিও এনবিআরের এমন উদ্যোগ হঠাৎ করে আসেনি। টিআইএনধারীদের সংখ্যা ক্রমাগত বাড়লেও করদাতাদের মধ্যে রিটার্ন জমা দেওয়ার প্রবণতা তেমন বাড়েনি কিংবা এনবিআরও করদাতাদের বাধ্য করার মতো কঠিন কোনো পদক্ষেপে যায়নি। বর্তমানে প্রায় ৮০ লাখ ব্যক্তি টিআইএন নিবন্ধন নিলেও আয়কর রিটার্ন জমা দেন মাত্র সাড়ে ২৬ লাখ করদাতা।

এ বিষয়ে আয়কর বিভাগের এক কর্মকর্তা ঢাকা পোস্টকে বলেন, প্রস্তাবিত বাজেট প্রণয়নের শুরুতে এনবিআর থেকে দেশের সব কর অঞ্চলগুলো নিয়ে বিভিন্ন পর্যায়ে বৈঠক করা হয়েছে। তাদের কাছ থেকে সুপারিশ চাওয়া হয়, কীভাবে আয়কর রিটার্ন দাখিলের পরিমাণ বাড়ানো যায়। প্রায় সব কর অঞ্চল থেকে সুপারিশে বলা হয় আইন অনুসারে রিটার্ন দেওয়া বাধ্যতামূলক হলেও লোকবল সংকট ও করভীতির কারণে প্রকৃতপক্ষে

তা বাস্তবায়ন করা যাচ্ছে না। তাই সবচেয়ে সহজ ও প্রকৃষ্ট পদ্ধতি হবে যদি টিআইএনের পরিবর্তে আয়কর রিটার্ন দাখিলের প্রাপ্তি স্বীকারকে বাধ্যতামূলক করা হয়। তাহলে করদাতারা বাধ্য প্রয়োজনীয় সব সেবা পেতে ঠিকই রিটার্ন জমা দেবেন। এর ফলে আয়কর রিটার্ন দাখিল অন্ততপক্ষে দ্বিগুণ হয়ে যাবে।

সরকারি যেসব সেবা বা কাজের ক্ষেত্রে টিআইএন বাধ্যতামূলক

সার্বিকভাবে প্রায় ৪০ ধরনের কাজে টিআইএন প্রয়োজন হয়। যার মধ্যে রয়েছে- গ্রাহক পর্যায়ে বিদ্যুৎ-সংযোগ নিতে টিআইএন বাধ্যতামূলক, মোবাইল ফোন রিচার্জ ব্যবসা; মোবাইল ব্যাংকিং; পরিবেশক এজেন্সি; বিভিন্ন ধরনের পরামর্শক, ক্যাটারিং, ইভেন্ট ম্যানেজমেন্ট, জনবল সরবরাহ, সিকিউরিটি সার্ভিস। এমনকি আমদানি-রপ্তানির বিল অব এন্ট্রি জমা দিতে হলেও টিআইএন প্রয়োজন।

বিশেষ পেশাজীবী ও ব্যবসায়ীর ক্ষেত্রে যেমন- ঋণপত্র স্থাপন; রপ্তানি নিবন্ধন সনদ নেওয়া; সিটি করপোরেশন ও পৌরসভা কর্তৃপক্ষের কাছ ট্রেড লাইসেন্স নেওয়া বা পুনর্নিবন্ধন; দরপত্র জমা; অভিজাত ক্লাবের সদস্যপদ গ্রহণ; বিমা জরিপ প্রতিষ্ঠান; জমি, ভবন ও ফ্ল্যাট নিবন্ধন; মোটরসাইকেল-বাস-ট্রাকের মালিকানা পরিবর্তন ও ফিটনেস নবায়ন; চিকিৎসক, প্রকৌশলী, হিসাববিদসহ বিভিন্ন ধরনের পেশাজীবী সংগঠনের সদস্য; কোম্পানির পরিচালক ও স্পন্সর শেয়ারহোল্ডার; বিবাহ নিবন্ধনকারী বা কাজি; ড্রাগ লাইসেন্সধারী ইত্যাদি।

জাতীয় সংসদ, সিটি করপোরেশন, উপজেলা ও পৌরসভা নির্বাচনে প্রার্থী হতে হলেও টিআইআন বাধ্যতামূলক। এছাড়া রয়েছে বাণিজ্যিক ভবনের নকশা অনুমোদনে; বাণিজ্য সংগঠনের সদস্য; ব্যাংক ও আর্থিক প্রতিষ্ঠান থেকে পাঁচ লাখ টাকার বেশি ঋণ নিলে; ক্রেডিট কার্ড থাকলে; বাণিজ্যিক গ্যাস ও বিদ্যুৎ-সংযোগ চাইলে টিআইএন থাকতে হবে। আবার ছেলেমেয়েদের ইংরেজি মাধ্যমে পড়াতে চাইলে অভিভাবকের টিআইএন প্রয়োজন।

সরকারি ও স্বায়ত্তশাসিত প্রতিষ্ঠানের কর্মকর্তার মূল বেতন ১৬ হাজার টাকার বেশি হলেই টিআইএন লাগে। এমনকি এমপিওভুক্ত শিক্ষকদের মধ্যে যাদের বেতন ১৬ হাজার টাকার বেশি, তাদেরও কর শনাক্তকরণ সনদ বাধ্যতামূলক। বেসরকারি প্রতিষ্ঠানের নির্বাহী পর্যায়ের কর্মকর্তাদের ক্ষেত্রেও টিআইএন বাধ্যতামূলক।

চলতি অর্থবছরে যোগ করা হয় দুই লাখ টাকার বেশি সঞ্চয়পত্র ক্রয় কিংবা গ্রামে বা শহরে বাড়ির নকশা অনুমোদনে টিআইএন বাধ্যতামূলক। এছাড়া সমবায় সমিতির রেজিস্ট্রেশন নিতেও টিআইএন বাধ্যতামূলক করা হয়।

এর আগে করের আওতা বৃদ্ধি ও আয়কর ফাঁকি বন্ধ করতে মোটরযান ও নৌ-যান, সব ধরনের ট্রেড লাইসেন্স এবং ঠিকাদার তালিকাভুক্তি কিংবা নবায়নে আয়কর রিটার্ন বাধ্যতামূলক করতে সেতু ও যোগাযোগ মন্ত্রণালয়, নৌ-পরিবহন এবং বিদ্যুৎ ও জ্বালানি মন্ত্রণালয়সহ ১০টি মন্ত্রণালয়ের সচিবকে চিঠি দিয়েছিল এনবিআর। এনবিআর চেয়ারম্যান ২০২১ সালের ৩১ মার্চ এনবিআর থেকে সংশ্লিষ্ট মন্ত্রণালয়ের সচিব বরাবর চিঠিগুলো দেন বলে জানা গেছে। এছাড়া করের আওতা বাড়াতে বিদ্যুৎ, গ্যাস ও সিটি করপোরেশনের ডাটাবেজ সংগ্রহ করে রিটার্ন না দেওয়া ব্যক্তিদের খোঁজার উদ্যোগও নেয় প্রতিষ্ঠানটি।

রিটার্ন জমা না দিলে আয়কর আইনে যেমন শাস্তি

প্রতি বছর আয়কর রিটার্ন জমা দেওয়ার সর্বশেষ সময় ৩০ নভেম্বর। ওই দিনকে আয়কর দিবসও বলা হয়। এ সময়ের মধ্যে করদাতাদের আয়কর রিটার্ন জমা দিতে হয়। কেউ এ সময়ের মধ্যে রিটার্ন জমা দিতে না পারলে লিখিত আবেদন করে সময় নেওয়া যায়। এক্ষেত্রে নির্ধারিত করের সঙ্গে প্রতি মাসে আরও ২ শতাংশ সুদ দিতে হয়। কিন্তু সময়ের আবেদন না করে কেউ রিটার্ন না নিলে সুদের পাশাপাশি আইন লঙ্ঘনের দায়ে তাকে জরিমানা দিতে হয়। ১ ডিসেম্বর থেকে এ জরিমানার তারিখ গণনা শুরু হয়।

এ বিষয়ে আয়কর অধ্যাদেশের ১২৪ ধারায় বলা আছে, করদাতা যদি কোনো কারণ ছাড়াই নির্দিষ্ট সময়ে রিটার্ন দাখিল না করেন, আবার এজন্য অনুমোদনও না নেন, সে জন্য তার পূর্ববর্তী বছর প্রদেয় করের ১০ শতাংশ বা ১ হাজার টাকার মধ্যে যেটি বড় অংক ওই পরিমাণ অর্থ জরিমানা হবে। সেই সঙ্গে যতদিন দেরি হবে, প্রতিদিনের জন্য ৫০ টাকা হারে বাড়তি মাশুলও গুনতে হবে।

৭৩-এ ধারায় বলা আছে, ৩০ নভেম্বরের পর কর কর্মকর্তাদের অনুমতি নিয়ে দেরিতে রিটার্ন জমা দিলেও ২ শতাংশ বিলম্ব সুদ দিতে হবে।


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Reyad Hossain

29 May, 2022, 11:40 pm

Last modified: 29 May, 2022, 11:40 pm

Govt mulls doubling source tax on exports



Bad news for exporters!

While export growth is projected to slow in the months ahead amid a gloomy global financial outlook, the government mulls raising the source tax on export earnings to 1% from 0.5% in the forthcoming national budget, sources said.

Doubling the tax rate, especially at a time when countries across the world are grappling with rising inflation with another spell of economic slowdown looming large on the horizon, could have serious repercussions for the export-oriented industries, fear people concerned.

Economists feel the National Board of Revenue (NBR) may want to raise the source tax on exports considering it the best possible option to increase its revenue collection. 

They, however, observe that if the rate of source tax is equal for all, non-RMG sectors will lag behind in the effective rate of protection since the RMG sector enjoys some special benefits from the government. This issue needs to be taken into consideration, they say.

The government imposed the source tax on exports for the first time in 2005. Initially, the rate was 0.25%. Later, it was raised at different times and was set at 1% in fiscal 2014-15.

More than 80% of Bangladesh's export income comes from the readymade garment sector alone. Accordingly, entrepreneurs in this sector become the most vocal against attempts to hike the source tax on exports. 

The government too kept the source tax at a low level as part of its assistance to the RMG sector considering its contribution to the country's economy and various challenges the sector faced in the past. As a result, other export-oriented sectors also came under the ambit of the facility.

Over the past decade or so, almost every time the source tax was hiked, exporters were able to persuade the government to bring it down again. 

Nevertheless, even if the source tax is equal for all export-oriented sectors, non-RMG sectors have to pay taxes at a rate almost 2.5 times as high as that applicable for the RMG sector.

For the last two years, the government has been levying 0.5% source tax on export earnings considering the pandemic situation. 

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA had earlier demanded reductions to the source tax rate, but this time they have not made any such demand. Instead, they have recommended that the existing rate be kept unchanged for the next five years as part of a stable tax policy.

BGMEA President Faruque Hassan made the demand at a recent discussion with policymakers.

Speaking about the probable negative impact of a hike in source tax on exports, Md Fazlul Hoque, managing director of Plummy Fashions Ltd and former president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), told The Business Standard that export from the sector is projected to decline in the coming months because of inflation in major export destinations, including Europe and America. 

"In such a situation, raising the tax rate would only add to our woes."

"Looking at the RMG sector's export growth, it may seem that our income has increased. In fact, this growth is mainly attributable to an increase in other costs including rising prices of raw materials. 

"Even if we get some extra money, we do not get it at the rate at which the expenditure has increased."

He also said they cannot get back the money deducted as source tax even if they incur losses – they have to pay tax even if there is no income. "Even then, we wanted that the existing tax rate is kept unchanged for the next five years in the interest of getting new investment."

Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue, thinks that the NBR out of its revenue mobilisation compulsion chooses to raise income tax at source as it is the most efficient tax collection tool. 

He, however, said, "We hear about problems which transpire during the final tax adjustment of the amount deducted at source. This process should be made more transparent based on documentation and has to be specific to the performance of the taxed entity.' 

He pointed out that the source tax rate should be applied to all exporters equally, and that no discrimination should be made between RMG and non-RMG exporters. 

The noted economist and public policy analyst also suggested that if the export-oriented sectors, including the RMG, feel that they need additional policy support to retain their competitiveness, they should approach other relevant agencies including the Ministry of Commerce, not necessarily the NBR. 

Debapriya maintained that the proposed increase in advance income tax on export revenue may be an opening gambit for the NBR. This rate may get negotiated downward – keeping it above the current rate – through discussions.

According to the latest data released by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh's export income stood at over $43 billion in the first 10 months of the current fiscal 2021-22, with a year-on-year growth of 35%. 

Exporters and the EPB expect that the figure will cross the $50 billion mark by the end of the year. 

From that count, the source tax collection from the export sector could be around $250 million or around Tk2,200 crore ($1 = Tk86).

The Ministry of Finance has projected a 20% year-on-year growth in exports in the upcoming fiscal 2022-23. 

If this projection becomes true, the country's export income would stand at $60 billion next year. In that case, if the source tax is collected at the rate of 1%, total revenue collection from this sector could be around $600 million or Tk5,100 crore.

In FY21, Bangladesh's total export income was $38 38.75 billion, while $193.7 million billion or Tk1,666 crore was collected in advance income tax on export revenue.

The rate of income tax is not the same for all exporters, but the source tax is levied at the same rate on all sectors in the current financial year.

According to the existing Income Tax Ordinance, the corporate tax rate on the export income in the RMG sector presently stands at 12%, while the rate is 10% for green factories and 30% for non-RMG sectors.

Exporters have to pay 0.5% advance tax on proceeds of their exports, but they have the scope for adjusting it as their final income tax while submitting the tax returns.

After speaking to the income tax department and exporters, TBS, however, has learned that almost all exporters show their income in proportion to the amount deducted as tax at the source. As a result, even if they have extra income, they do not pay tax for that, and even if they incur a loss, they do not get back the already deducted amount.

Exporters said they think it is not possible for everyone to get refunded by complying with the conditions set by the tax authorities.

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TBS Report

30 May, 2022, 01:00 pm

Last modified: 30 May, 2022, 02:23 pm

One year is too short to benefit from tax waivers


The government has provided tax holiday and VAT exemption facilities to several manufacturing subsectors in the current fiscal year to facilitate the growth of local industries. Tax rates have been reduced in many sectors to help industries recover from Covid-induced losses. Bangladesh Chamber of Industries (BCI) President Anwar-ul-Alam Chowdhury sheds light on the effectiveness of these facilities as he speaks to TBS Senior Reporter Abbas Uddin Noyon.

In the budget for the current fiscal year, the government has reduced the corporate tax by 250 basis points to 22.5% for listed companies and 30% for unlisted ones. This is good for our business. But, corporate tax rates are even lower in our competitive countries. Therefore, we recommend that the government bring this tax rate down further.

Another major government initiative in the current budget is to give impetus to the "Made in Bangladesh" campaign.

As part of this, a 20-year tax exemption support has been announced for the automobile industry on the condition that a company must have an investment of at least Tk100 crore in the sector in order to become eligible for the tax benefit. Besides, industries that manufacture various types of home appliances including washing machines, blenders, microwave ovens, electric sewing machines, induction cookers, and kitchen hoods have been provided with a tax exemption facility for 10 years.

In order to create local entrepreneurs, a 10-year tax exemption facility has been announced for agro-based industries, the light engineering industry, and the IT hardware sector. Also, a 10-year tax holiday has been announced on the construction of specialised hospitals outside Dhaka.

Undoubtedly, these are good initiatives. But, it will take some time to get the desired benefit out of them.

The Covid situation improved not so long ago. But, prices of all kinds of raw materials and capital machinery have started to rise on the international market even before the industrial sector could dispel the clouds of the pandemic.

Freight charges have risen 8-10 times over the last two years owing to rising oil prices. A crisis has also arisen over the procurement of raw materials from the global market. In this situation, it is very difficult to get new investments.

Encouragingly, some investors started pouring their money into these industries, which have received special facilities from the National Board of Revenue (NBR), before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Many have already taken allotments of land in economic zones, although we do not have any specific data about how much money has been invested or has been planned to be invested.

In the current budget, the NBR has announced a 5% waiver on corporate tax for organisations having 5% or at least 100 of their total employees recruited from the third gender community or people with disabilities.

But, few companies could avail of this facility. This is because if a company has a total of 2,000 employees, it must have at least 100 of them from the third gender, and it is very difficult to find such a huge number of third gender people in our country. The NBR, therefore, should relax this condition.

The government has continued the VAT exemption facility for the electronics sector including manufacturers of mobile phones, refrigerators, and ACs this year as well. This has already yielded positive outcomes in some areas. Once the domestic market of refrigerators, televisions, and ACs was totally import-dependent, but local industries have flourished in recent years and now import dependencies have come down to great extent.

The government has also kept providing VAT exemptions alongside tax breaks to facilitate the expansion of the local mobile phone industry. As a result, about 70% of the local demand for smartphones and 50% for feature phones are now met by local companies, according to industry insiders.

In addition to VAT exemptions, taxes have also been reduced for the local shipbuilding industry, which has resulted in an increase in the number of new seafaring vessels.

A special fund has been set up in the budget to finance young entrepreneurs. But, because of a lack of proper policy, it was not possible to utilise this fund. I am proposing to formulate a policy framework for the disbursement of the special fund.

I am also proposing to make the tax system transparent, fast, modern, up-to-date and fully digital in order to motivate everyone to pay taxes.

The applicable rates of VAT range between 5% and 15% on various expenses as applicable under the existing law. These rates need to be brought down to 3% to 10%.

The gross profit of a company is determined depending on the sector it is in, which is not logical. Again, if a company's gross profit drops or it incurs a loss, they are not taken into consideration. The tax authorities do not show any compassion even if the sales are lower than that of the previous year. It takes a certain amount of time for a company to turn profitable after its registration. But the losses the company incurs during this time are not taken into account. I, therefore, propose to consider the issue of the initial costs (pre-establishment cost).

Above all, I think the new budget needs to provide more facilities to local industries considering the rising inflation.


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