BTRC seeks authority to collect VAT

Staff Correspondent | Published at 12:05am on September 07, 2018

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A file photo shows a signboard of the Bangladesh Telecommunica-tion Regulatory Commission installed outside its office in Dhaka. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has requested the National Board of Revenue to enlist it as a value-added tax collecting entity. — New Age photo

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has requested the National Board of Revenue to enlist it as a value-added tax collecting entity.
The BTRC made the request following an instruction from prime minister’s ICT affairs adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy at a meeting held in August this year at Gana Bhaban in the capital where posts, telecommunications and information technology minister Mustafa Jabbar and acting BTRC chairman Md Jahurul Haque were present, among others.
The PM’s ICT adviser at the meeting had asked the telecom regulator to become a VAT collecting entity.
Country’s mobile phone operators have been creating pressure on the BTRC so that the regulator becomes a VAT collecting entity.
But, the telecom regulator as well as the revenue board was against such proposition.
Following the instruction from Joy, the commission on Wednesday again issued a letter to the revenue board in this regard as the revenue board is yet to give any reply to the commission’s recent letter regarding the issue.
The BTRC in its latest letter said that the NBR instructed the BTRC to collect VAT at source against telecom services.
The revenue board also instructed the telecom regulator to submit the NBR the proof of deposit of the money to the national exchequer under section 18 of Value Added Tax Act, 1991, the BTRC letter said.
The BTRC letter requested the NBR again to take lawful measures in this regard.
Enlistment of the BTRC as a VAT collecting entity will allow the regulator to provide receipts also known as VAT Chalan while receiving VAT payments, which the mobile operators would then be able to use to get tax rebate from the NBR.
For the latest instance, mobile phone operator Robi initially refrained from paying Tk 18.93 crore in VAT on fees for 4G licence and technology neutrality within the deadline set by the telecom regulator, stating that the operator would pay VAT only if the telecom regulator would give it VAT Chalan.
The operator, however, cleared the amount following measures from the telecom regulator.
The issue of BTRC’s enlistment as a VAT collecting entity has remained pending following a court order that had instructed the BTRC and the NBR to maintain status quo regarding the issue until the disposal of a plea made by NBR against another court order.
Following a plea made by a mobile phone operator, the High Court in its judgment in 2012 had suggested that the BTRC should be a VAT collecting entity.