Jewellers accuse tax officials of harassment over legalised stock

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:38, Oct 12,2020


Bangladesh Jewellers Samity has alleged that tax officials are harassing jewellers by asking the traders about the source of gold which the businesses legalised by paying specific tax under a special scheme offered by the National Board of Revenue.

BAJUS in a letter to the revenue board said that the traders of gold and other precious metals were in panic due to a recent move taken by some NBR officials and field-level offices.

The association’s president, Enamul Haque Khan, wrote the letter on September 19 to NBR chairman Abu Hena Md Rahamatul Muneem, seeking assurance of running their businesses in a hassle-free environment.

He also sought the assurance that accounts of gold would not be sought for the period before June 2019.

Jewellers legalised their undisclosed stock of gold, diamond, silver and ornaments made from the precious metals by paying taxes at various rates by June 30 last year as per the deadline given the revenue board, he said.

According to the data of the NBR and BAJUS, around 17,000 jewellers and gold traders legalised 21,000 kilograms or 18 lakh bhori of the precious metals, mainly gold and gold ornaments, at a three-day gold fair held in June 23-25 and paid Tk 250 crore in taxes under the legalisation scheme. Each bhori is equivalent to 11.664 grams.

The revenue board on May 23, 2020 issued a Gazette notice offering the scope to jewellers and traders to legalise the undisclosed stock of gold, diamond and silver in their possession by making a declaration and paying Tk 1,000 for each bhori of gold, Tk 6,000 per carat for cut and polished diamond and Tk 50 per bhori of silver.

In the Gazette notice, the NBR also assured that income tax authorities will not raise any questions about the source of the metals and acquiring prices.

Enamul on Monday told New Age that the NBR’s VAT Audit Intelligence and Investigation Directorate had now been asking the jewellers to provide accounts of gold and other metals they had in stock in the past six years.

Traders legalised the precious metals by paying specific taxes and providing explanations on condition that the NBR will not ask any questions about the source and prices of gold and other metals, he said.

The office should not seek the accounts for the period before June 30, 2020 in anyway violating the NBR’s conditions, he said.

There is no problem if the directorate seeks accounts for the time after the period, he added.

VAT officials, however, said that the NBR had barred only the income tax department from raising any questions about the source and prices of declared gold, diamond and silver.

There is no such bar on the VAT department, they said, adding that the VAT department would look into the issues related to transactions to see whether the traders had paid VAT properly or not.

VAT officials usually do not ask questions about the source, they said.

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