Focal-point officers to deal with foreign taxpayers in tax offices

Dhaka,  Tue,  26 September 2017
Published : 18 Jul 2017, 00:38:08

Focal-point officers to deal with foreign taxpayers in tax offices

Doulot Akter Mala

All income-tax offices across the country will each have a focal-point officer to extend a fair deal to foreign taxpayers, both corporate and individual, in tax-related affairs.

Officials said the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has made the move following complaints from the foreign taxpayers of hurdles in getting satisfactory tax-related services.

The income-tax wing of the NBR sent letters to field-level offices last week instructing all the tax commissioners to assign a focal-point officer to each zone for dealing with foreigners during their tax payment.

The officer at the focal point should be of additional or joint-tax commissioner status, capable of dealing with the non-native taxpayers.

In several sessions of EU-Bangladesh business-climate dialogue, foreign taxpayers claimed that they were facing difficulties in getting tax-related support in the tax offices.

In the letter, the NBR said it has initiated administrative and legal reform "to expand tax-net without increasing tax rates".

The NBR established tax service and information centres in all divisional cities of the country.

In a bid to ensure efficient service to the foreign taxpayers, the NBR decided to assign one official as focal point in every tax zone.

The board sought names, emails and other details of the assigned focal officials.

The sources said foreign individual taxpayers pay tax under certain tax zones but other tax offices also have to deal with foreigners who work with different companies.

Individual ones have to pay 30 per cent income tax from their annual earnings. There is no tax-free ceiling for the foreigners.

Foreign corporate taxpayers pay tax as per regular tax structure for companies on the basis of categories and publicly listed or non-listed statuses.

However, the government has offered three-year tax-break for the foreign technicians who work for companies that are implementing public-private partnership (PPP) projects.

They are, however, to follow certain conditions and have to work in some specific sectors.

Earlier, the NBR had formed different committees after smelling tax evasion by foreign workers employed in the country. The NBR also set up a desk in the three international airports and Benapole land port to collect tax from foreigners before leaving the country.

Allegations are rife that many of the foreigners have evaded payment of income tax with the connivance of their employers for long.

The numbers of foreign workers from India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Korea, Japan and China are on a fast increase but tax collection from them does not show that much upturn.
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