NBR to launch drive for taxes from foreign nationals

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has decided to launch a drive for realising taxes from the foreign nationals working in Bangladesh but not paying the due taxes against their incomes.

The NBR has directed its field offices to be tougher against the evasion of taxes by foreigners, according to sources at the tax regulatory body.

NBR1It sent a letter to its field offices in this regard instructing them to follow article 107 of the Income Tax Ordinance 1984 strictly, reports UNB.

According to the article, the foreign nationals working here will have to submit their proper documents about their income tax payment to the respective tax offices.

The letter also directed the NBR field offices to aware the organisations where the foreign nationals are working for paying their due income taxes.

As per the estimated data of the NBR and the Ministry of Home Affairs, the number of foreign nationals working in Bangladesh with different kinds of visas are not less than half a million, and of them only 10,000 have the official permission to work here.

Most of these nationals are from South Asian countries and they are working in the RMG, pharmaceutical, Information Technology, marketing and different kinds of services sectors.

The NBR took the decision to be tough on the foreign nationals as the government has fixed a bigger revenue target for the NBR in the current fiscal year’s budget.

The budget for the current fiscal set an overall revenue collection target of TK 1,82,954 crore. Of the target, the share of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) is estimated at TK 1,49,720 crore, up Tk 24,720 crore than the last fiscal’s.

In terms of composition of revenue, income tax will be the major source of income for the current fiscal with the target set at Tk 57,500 crore. To achieve the target, the government has included some new sectors in the income tax net. In the budget for the current fiscal, the government has brought 26 types of products and services under the tax net, or increased the tax rate.

From this year a new slab has been set for the individual taxpayers having annual income of more than Tk 44.20 lakh, with a view to raising revenue through a more egalitarian tax regime. Thirty percent tax on the income of this high income-earners’ slab has been imposed.

NBR officials said they have the evidence that a large number of foreign nationals are working in Bangladesh without work permit and without paying taxes. Some of these errant foreign nationals have already left Bangladesh showing fake documents of their paid taxes.

In their documents, they showed lower salary than what they actually were getting. “Some of them have been working years after years with work permits for only a couple of months, an NBR official said.

Indicating some of these incidents, Prime Minister’s Office on January this year sent a file to the NBR directing to take effective steps to contain such tax evasion.

The income tax returns of the foreign nationals are submitted to five tax offices—three in Dhaka and two in Chittagong—as the number of foreign nationals are higher in these two cities.