The tax administrator has sought Tk 244 crore from six mobile operators as outstanding VAT at source on revenue sharing.
But the operators said the demand goes against the principles of the VAT law.
The National Board of Revenue asked the telecom regulator last week to collect the money from Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi, Airtel, Citycell and Teletalk.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission yesterday issued letters to the mobile operators to pay the amount in three days. The BTRC said if the operators fail to do so, it will go for legal action against them.
The NBR said the operators did not pay the VAT at source on the 5.5 percent revenue, which they share with the government, during the period between April 2012 and August 2013. The amount includes 2 percent interest as outstanding.
However, in August last year the NBR issued a directive that the mobile operators will not need to pay VAT at source on the 5.5 percent revenue as it will cause double taxation.
Md Sarwar Alam, director (media) of the BTRC, said the regulator is also preparing to draw NBR attention to the matter of double taxation.
TIM Nurul Kabir, secretary general of Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh, said, “The NBR has already cleared the matter that the operators don't need to pay any VAT on revenue sharing.”
An official of a mobile operator said double taxation is illegal in line with the VAT law, and so the LTU cannot demand such VAT. Revenue sharing itself is a tax, he said.
Mahmud Hossain, chief corporate affairs officer of Grameenphone, said NBR lifted the VAT on revenue sharing as it was double taxation. "So the claim is not applicable to the operators."