This is a repeated attempt of Finance Minister AMA Muhith to impose VAT on e-commerce business on the platform’s rising popularity for its convenience.
Minister Muhith proposes to impose 5 per cent VAT on all e-commerce, including those using Facebook for sales, in the budget for fiscal 2018-19.How he plans to do that is not specific, but what he speaks of is a definition of ‘Virtual Business’ which will serve to the purpose of bringing e-commerce under VAT.
Previously, back in 2015, Muhith tried to impose a 4 per cent VAT on e-commerce business, which he was forced to withdraw on pressure from stakeholders.
IT, e-commerce entrepreneurs and business leaders have always seen big prospect of the industry and has pushed the government to keep it out of VAT purview until 2024.
According to industry insiders, the industry has grown to about Tk 2,000 crore with about 40 per cent growth per annum and 20 lakh online shoppers on a daily basis.
However, the number is still small compared to the 8.59 crore active internet connections in the country. No wonder they think there is more to be achieved from e-commerce.