The National Board of Revenue has allowed former finance minister AMA Muhith to release an imported car under the duty-free scheme meant for the Members of Parliament.
The revenue board on Monday issued a special order exempting Muhith from payment of all types of import duty, value-added tax and supplementary duty to release a Toyota Land Cruiser jeep, a sports utility vehicle, from Chittagong Customs House.
The NBR provided the benefit after getting approval from the ‘appropriate authorities’ following a recommendation of the National Parliament Secretariat, said an order signed by NBR second secretary (customs policy) Jahangir Alam.
‘Though Muhith is not entitled to the duty-free car import benefit as he is not a member of the current 11th parliament, the decision has been taken considering the existing circumstances,’ the order said.
Customs officials said that Muhith had been entitled to the benefit as a member of the 10th Jatiya Sangsad.
The former finance minister opened a letter of credit and completed all formalities at the last moment of his tenure as a lawmaker in the previous parliament but the car arrived at the Chittagong port after the expiry of the parliament, they said.
According to the relevant provision of the customs law, a lawmaker can import a car in every term of the parliament under the duty-free scheme.
Though Muhith did not avail the benefit during the 10th parliament, now he is not eligible for the benefit as per the law.
Officials said that the NBR extended the benefit to Muhith considering the circumstances as he would not be able to release the car without NBR’s permission.
They, however, could not confirm the amount of duties and taxes Muhith was exempted.
They also said that the NBR had previously given a similar permission to release an imported car to the family of a lawmaker as the car arrived at the port after his death.
According to the NBR order, Muhith will have to meet three conditions for availing the benefit.
The imported car cannot be sold or transferred to anyone else in the next five years and if it is sold within this time, all the taxes must be paid.
He will also have to take clearance from the revenue board before selling or transferring the car, according to the order.
In the case of the owner’s death within five years of the import of such a car, it can be transferred to his heirs without payment of the taxes.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Tax