Mobile kingpins, regulator among big VAT defaulters

Dhaka,  Thu,  24 August 2017
Published : 19 Jun 2017, 00:46:16 | Updated : 19 Jun 2017, 09:11:45

Mobile kingpins, regulator among big VAT defaulters

Revenue authority issues show-cause notice
Doulot Akter Mala
Government's revenue authority served show-cause notices on nine large taxpayers, including Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and four mobile kingpins, for non-payment of VAT worth Tk 4.12 billion.

The mobile-phone companies are Robi Axiata, Grameen Phone Ltd, City Cell (Pacific Telecom) and Airtel (now merged with Robi).

Among the notified defaulters, the state-owned BTRC owes the highest amount Tk 1.61 billion in arrears to the exchequer.

The other large taxpayers who got the notices are China-Bangla Ceramic, MIR Cement, Global Heavy Chemical, and New Zealand Dairy.

A senior official of the Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) under VAT (value-added tax) wing of the National Board of Revenue said the unit filed cases and issued show-cause notices to collect the undisputed sums of VAT.

"The telecom operators are not paying the VAT worth Tk 330 million on space rent although they lost the legal battles," he added.

The government won in the High Court, Appellate Division and Tribunal in the cases that the companies had filed challenging the VAT on space rent, he further said.

Telecom operators Robi and Airtel merged in November last year but VAT on the merger fees remained unpaid, he informed.

A total of Tk 28.12 billion, both disputed and undisputed, in VAT remained stuck with the mobile-phone operators in the forms of SIM-replacement tax, space rent and interests due to delays in payment of SIM tax.

The court has yet to deliver its verdict on SIM-replacement tax worth Tk 20.48 billion and penal interests for delay in paying SIM tax worth Tk 6.80 billion.

Another source in the LTU said the unit served show-cause notice on the state-owned BTRC as it failed to deposit the VAT against issuance of 3G licence in favour of Teletalk.

"It was responsibility of the commission to collect the VAT from Teletalk but it issued licence without collecting the VAT at 5.0 per cent," he said.

Also, he added, the BTRC did not deposit 15 per cent VAT on spectrum fee that it should collect from Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL).

An inspection team of the LTU found mismatch in actual sales data and payment of VAT by China-Bangla Ceramic and MIR Cement.

The unit also unearthed alleged VAT evasion by Global Heavy Chemical and New Zealand Dairy through intensive audit of their VAT returns and financial documents.

Officials said the unit unearthed and compiled the outstanding revenues from January to March and served show-cause notices in May and June.

They said the LTU is trying to realise the due VAT through both legal ways and motivation before end of the current FY on June 30.
Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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