Foreign investors in Bangladesh proposed the government draw long-term tax plans and rationalise corporate-tax rates for attracting investment.
Leaders of the Foreign Investors' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said at least a three-to five-year consistent tax planning could be done so that investors can forecast their business.
They specifically proposed a reduction in the existing corporate income-tax rates by 10 per cent in phases over a period of next five years.
Currently, corporate income-tax rates for companies vary between 25 per cent and 45 per cent, depending on categories of companies.
They made the proposals Monday for fiscal year 2017-18 in a pre-budget meeting with the National Board of Revenue (NBR) on its premises.
Representatives of Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) and India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) also placed their respective fiscal proposals at the meeting.
Demanding equal tax treatment, FICCI president Rupali Chowdhury said some industries are getting preferences in respect of tax-breaks while some are not.
She regretted that the government imposes heavy tax burden on selective areas while others go untouched.
The FICCI also proposed to have clarifications on the changes in the VAT measures under a new law, scheduled to be implemented from July 01.
The foreign investors' chamber also sought settlement of long-pending issues related to gratuity-fund complexities on income tax.
FICCI members said compliant companies and employees are bearing the brunt of high-rates taxes that should be reverted to the previous stages.
They also proposed cuts in or withdraw of tax at source on technical and royalty fees, simplifying wealth-tax collection, an increase in tax-free ceiling on conveyance and house-rent allowances in the income tax, withdrawal of excess-profit provision in the income tax law etc.
The chamber leaders proposed the NBR should issue a gazette notification within April (this month) about the implementation of the new VAT law to help the investors and companies take preparation.
Both the FICCI president and IBCCI leaders proposed that the NBR make income-tax measures effective from the budget- passing year instead of giving it retrospective effect.
FICCI leaders recommended the NBR make upward adjustment of the tax-free income ceiling for individual taxpayers to Tk 400,000 from the existing Tk 250,000 threshold considering the high cost of living and inflation.
BWCCI leaders proposed a reduction in the VAT rate to 5.0 per cent at the highest from 15 per cent in the new VAT law, separate tax and VAT structures for women entrepreneurs, and reduction in VAT on locally made products,
India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) representative AK Chowdhury proposed the VAT rate be halved to 7.5 per cent from 15 per cent in the new law.
He said the income-tax measures in the budget should come into effect from July 01, 2017, not from June 2016 in a retrospective effect.
Parvez Iqbal, NBR Member (income tax policy) presided over the meeting. NBR member (customs policy) Lutfur Rahman, BWCCI president Selima Ahmed and senior vice-president Sangita Ahmed, representatives from FICCI and IBCCI, among others, spoke at the pre-budget meet.