HC stays NBR bid to tax Yunus’ gift money

The High Court has stayed the National Board of Revenue’s move to collect gift taxes from Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus, his legal and tax counsels said yesterday, reports the Daily Star.

The six-month stay on NBR’s tax demand notice came early this month, Kazi Ershadul Alam, legal adviser to Prof Yunus, told The Daily Star over the phone.

dr. YunusThe NBR had claimed that Yunus gave away Tk 77 crore in gifts to his family members and others over three assessment years, against which, Tk 15.39 crore were payable in taxes.

Yunus took the NBR to the court over the claim last month, contesting that the donations were tax exempt as per existing rules, and that those were paid out of taxed incomes.

The microcredit pioneer receives high fees for speaking at international conferences, and in many places, audiences purchase tickets to hear his speech, Yunus Centre said in a statement earlier.

The statement was issued after a field office of the tax authorities, Tax Zone-6, issued a letter to Yunus asking him or his representatives to meet Tax Commissioner Md Meftha Uddin Khan at his office on March 29.

The meeting was rescheduled for today, as Mahbubur Rahman, tax adviser to Yunus, sought more time.

The tax office issued the letter to realise its claimed taxes against the money that Yunus gifted to his family members in fiscal 2011-2014.

A copy of the stay order has already been sent to the tax office concerned, he said.

MUHITH PRAISES YUNUS

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday lauded Prof Muhammad Yunus for his contribution to the society and women’s empowerment in Bangladesh.

He expressed his admiration for the microcredit pioneer while discussing Grameen Bank with US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat at his Secretariat office.

“I told her that he [Prof Yunus] has brought about a social change in the country by giving microcredit to poor rural woman … This is his unique achievement,” Muhith told reporters in the afternoon.

“There is only one problem with him … He will never leave the organisation [Grameen Bank] he has built,” said the minister.

Muhith said Bernicat had asked him how the Grameen Bank of Prof Yunus was doing.

In response, the minister told her that the Grameen Bank was doing very fine, and whatever problem it was facing was because of Prof Yunus.

“I told her that we cannot appoint chairman and managing director to the organisation all because of Mr Yunus. His friends are filing one case after another,” he added.


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