• Tuesday, September 02, 2014

SIM TAX ROW

NBR claim unacceptable, GP boss says

Abdullah Mamun

The chief executive of Grameenphone has said the final report prepared by the tax administrator on SIM replacement taxes, claiming Tk 3,010 crore from four mobile operators, is 'unacceptable' as it was prepared unilaterally.
The tax administrator has finalised the report, moving away from an agreement that bound all stakeholders, including mobile operators and telecom regulator, to participate in the process, said Vivek Sood, chief executive officer Grameenphone.
He said the National Board of Revenue prepared the terms of reference (TOR) last year, which was approved by the finance ministry before the 3G auction to quantify the resold SIMs. But the NBR has unilaterally revised the TOR after the operators participated in the 3G auction.
The CEO was speaking at the company's yearend financial disclosure at a city hotel yesterday.

The large taxpayer unit (LTU) of the tax administrator submitted the final report on SIM replacement taxes on January 28, placing claims worth Tk 3,010 crore on the four operators -- Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi and Airtel. The amount was only around Tk 250 crore in line with an interim report made in September last year by a review committee.
The review committee picked 4,900 SIMs from the four operators on a random basis and verified those in 20 ways to check whether the SIMs were used by the same users, following the TOR. Four subcommittees were formed to review the matter.
The interim report that was released in September last year was signed by all the parties, including both the telecom and revenue regulators and the operators, but the NBR finalised the report later on, violating its own TOR.
Even representatives of the telecom regulator did not agree with the final report, Sood said.
In 2012, NBR claimed Tk 3,062.16 crore from the four operators arguing that the operators had resold the SIM cards and dodged taxes in between July 2009 and December 2011.
The NBR claimed the amount, which includes 15 percent interest, by examining only 20 SIM cards of the operators.
Refuting the claim, all four operators went to court, which returned the issue to NBR to find a solution.
The Grameenphone CEO hoped the NBR chairman will review the matter and will go for a solution.

Published: 12:00 am Wednesday, February 12, 2014

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