Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has initiated a move to collect data from mobile phone operators and other licensees on their advertising spending on online media that have no physical presence in the country.
The online media for advertisement of goods and services include search engines Google and Yahoo, e-commerce site Amazon, social networking sites Facebook, WhatsApp and imo, video-sharing site YouTube and all other international platforms.
A seven-member committee, formed following a high court order in April this year to exact revenue from the international online platforms from Bangladesh, led by BTRC acting chairman Md Jahurul Haque, took the decision in a recent meeting.
As per the decision, the BTRC would ask all the mobile phone operators and other licensees to furnish data on how much revenue they have spend for the purpose of online advertisement, a senior BTRC official told New Age on Thursday.
The committee would also ask the entities to furnish information about the agencies which were acting in Bangladesh or abroad to collect revenue on behalf of Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook, WhatsApp, imo and YouTube, he said.
After getting responses from the BTRC’s licensees, the commission would further analyse whether the information are well enough to reach a conclusion, the BTRC official said.
As it would take time to find the exact figure of the revenue of the global technology giants, the committee would inform its progress to the court in due course, he said.
Earlier in April, a High Court bench comprised of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal also issued a rule asking the authorities concerned why a directive should not be issued to exact the revenue from these and other internet-based service providers.
The HC in its order named secretaries of finance, law, information, and posts and telecommunications ministries, Bangladesh Bank governor, National Board of Revenue chairman, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman and Bangladesh Newspapers Owners’ Association president as respondents along with the authorities of Google, Facebook, and YouTube.
Besides, the government was instructed to collect taxes and other duties from the entities.
The National Board of Revenue immediately after the HC order initiated a move to realise value-added tax on advertisement bills paid by local companies to the global technology giants.
VAT at the rate of 15 per cent will be applicable on payments against advertisements given by local firms on the global digital media outlets and other platforms.
As per the move, the NBR asked its field offices for examining whether Bangladesh Bank and other commercial banks were deducting the VAT while clearing the payments.
The VAT wing of the NBR also forwarded a copy of the letter to the governor of Bangladesh Bank for his appraisal.
The government, after the court instruction, in its budget for the financial year 2017-2018 imposed 5 per cent VAT on online businesses.
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