The National Board of Revenue has issued an ultimatum to local employers to rectify the employment status of illegal foreign nationals working at their businesses by October 15.
The special taskforce of NBR for collecting taxes from foreign workers in the country will carry out inspection of some selected businesses to check the tax and employment status of foreigners after the end of the deadline.
Officials said that the NBR last week issued a public notice giving the deadline and warning of stern actions if any deviation of the country’s laws regarding employment of foreigners is found.
The members of the taskforce have already collected information of many employers who appointed foreign nationals without proper approval of the competent authorities including Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, they said.
According to the Income Tax Ordinance-1984, employment of any foreign national who do not have permission of the BIDA or formerly Board of Investment is prohibited.
An employer will face a penalty as much as 50 per cent of his or her total payable tax or Tk 5 lakh, which is higher, for employing even a single unauthorised foreign national, the law stated.
The tax authority will also scrap the tax benefits including tax holiday for the companies for violation of the law in this connection, it said, adding that the person responsible for the offence may also face three years in prison along with additional Tk 5 lakh in penalty.
According to the primary data of the NBR, some 14,000 foreign nationals obtained electronic taxpayers identification numbers from the revenue board.
But various government agencies including law enforcing agency on several occasions said that the actual number of foreign workers in the country will be much higher up to several lakhs.
Employers recruit illegal foreigners to evade tax as income tax rate for foreign workers is 30 per cent on their income.
A member of the NBR taskforce said that they would carry out the inspection on some business premises initially in Dhaka to find out whether any foreigner works there without proper approval of the authorities.
This time, they will penalise the local employers, not workers, for recruiting any unauthorised foreigners, he said.
He said that such sudden inspection would create deterrent impact on other employers and motivate them not to recruit illegal foreigners.
Earlier in 2017, the taskforce identified 286 entities located in Dhaka region including Gazipur and Narayanganj where more than 12,000 foreigners work.
The NBR in April 2016, formed the taskforce consisting of representatives of tax offices and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry for carrying out the inspection and preparing the database of foreign workers.
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