The National Board of Revenue has sought data of SIM cards which were replaced by 4G enabled SIMs from mobile phone operator Robi Axiata Limited as part of the revenue board’s move to realise SIM replacement taxes.
NBR’s large taxpayer unit issued a letter to Robi in this regard in December in 2017 as the mobile operator refrained from paying SIM replacement taxes for the 2G and 3G SIM cards, which were replaced or exchanged or converted to 4G SIM cards.
Mobile phone operators are supposed to pay Tk 100 for replacement of any SIM card.
Robi was asked to prepare data within January 8, 2018 of the 2G and 3G SIM cards which were replaced by 4G SIM cards during December 2017.
NBR officials would collect the data from Robi office.
‘NBR would claim taxes from Robi based on the data that would be provided by the operator,’ said an NBR official.
Unless the mobile phone operator clears taxes in this regard, NBR would take further steps to realise the claim, the official said, adding that the move might eventually lead to legal action against Robi.
On the other hand, other operators have started paying taxes to government coffer for the replacement of 2G and 3G enabled SIM cards by 4G enabled ones, the official said.
An official of Robi differed with NBR claim stating that the operator has duly paid SIM replacement taxes to government.
As per the definition of replacement, issuance of new 4G enabled SIM cards against 2G and 3G SIM cards could not be considered as replacement as it was actually swapping of SIM cards, said the Robi official.
Considering the definition factor, no SIM replacement taxes would be applicable in this regard, he said.
On the other hand, Robi was not charging any fees on its subscribers for the swapping of SIM cards enabling them to avail 4G services free of cost, the Rob official said.
The taxes on replacement of 2G and 3G enabled SIM cards surfaced ahead of the 4G spectrum auction in the country this year.
Although according to present tax law, mobile phone operators ought to pay Tk 100 as tax for both new and replacement of SIM cards, they were exempted from paying any taxes for SIM issued to the existing users as replacement against lost, stolen or damaged SIM cards until the fiscal year 2014-15.
According to a rule framed in 2005, no tax was payable for replacement SIMs on the condition that the operators keep records of replaced SIMs and submit a list of the replaced SIMs along with VAT returns regularly.
Initially, mobile operators had to pay Tk 800 for each SIM card sold by them.
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