The Financial Express

Plan afoot for NBR to go tough against tax-dodging foreigners

| Updated: February 18, 2018 10:12:08

Plan afoot for NBR to go tough against tax-dodging foreigners

The revenue authority has planned to go tough against foreign nationals who are working in Bangladesh for long, but not paying income tax.

National Board of Revenue (NBR) has chalked out the plan in a bid to bring all foreign workers under tax net.

It has already sent letters to all of its tax zones seeking list of establishments where foreign nationals have been working.

NBR First Secretary (Tax legal and enforcement) Abul Kalam Azad said taskforce of the NBR will carry out sudden operations in those establishments to net foreigners dodging income tax.

While talking to BSS, he said migrant Bangladeshis have to pay income tax before joining jobs but it is just opposite here in Bangladesh as many foreigners are working here without pay income tax properly.

Steps have been taken to bring those foreign workers under tax net, he added.

According to Mr Azad, "We've already conducted operations in five establishments and indentified 15 foreigners who are not paying income tax."

He said a fresh move has been taken to develop data base of foreign nationals working in Bangladesh. A committee headed by a commissioner has started working in full swing in this regard, he said, adding that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed soon with the special branch of police to get information about foreigners.

"I am hopeful about completing such database within the next six months," said Azad.

To realise income tax from foreign workers properly a taskforce was formed in 2016 comprising representatives from Bangladesh Investment Development Board (BIDA), Special Branch of Police, DGFI, NSI, Bangladesh Bank, Home Ministry, BEPZA, Directorate of Passport, NGO Bureau and FBCCI.

The taskforce was later divided into two parts for Dhaka region and Chittagong region.

Currently, there is no exact statistics with any government bodies about the number of foreign nationals working in Bangladesh.

Around 11,000 foreigners submit tax returns to tax zone-11 of the NBR, which do not match with the money they remit from Bangladesh, said the NBR.

For example, remittances worth around $4 billion are sent to India from Bangladesh every year, the NBR official said.

Mr Azad says the names of foreign workers, passport numbers, addresses of their workplaces, permanent addresses of living, nature of jobs, information about salaries-allowances and payment of income tax will be included in the database.

According to the taskforce decision, income tax booth has already been opened in three international airports-Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Shah Amanat Airport in Chittagong and MAG Osmani International airport in Sylhet and a land port-Banapole.

Foreigners must show their income tax clearance certificate at these booths prior to leaving Bangladesh, he noted.

There is allegation that some foreign nationals enter Bangladesh with tourist visa and join jobs afterward. On other hand, foreigners are coming to Bangladesh with work-permit and working in NGOs, hotels-restaurants, educational institutes, garments factories, medical and engineering firms but secrecy is being maintained about their salaries-allowance, sad the NBR.

According to Mr Azad, "Actually, the employers are doing so to dodge tax . . . the NBR will go tough against such employers."

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