Global tech giants under scanner

A group of lawyers have filed a writ petition with the High Court seeking immediate measures from the government for realising appropriate tax, VAT and other charges from the revenues earned by different digital platforms from Bangladesh.

Digital platforms like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo, YouTube and their ilk are progressively earning substantial amounts from Bangladesh since 2007 but they do not pay any tax against the earnings.

This compelled six lawyers to file a petition against the tech giants under public interest litigation on Monday.

“In the last few years we observed that these global digital companies are sucking huge amounts of money from our country but we have no information on whether they are paying due taxes or not,” said Mohammad Humaun Kabir, a barrister of the Supreme Court and one of the petitioners.

Kabir said they requested the court to pass an order to present a report on the issue encompassing the last 10 years. The hearing might take place today. For the ruling they made responsive 11 persons and institutions. They are the finance secretary; Bangladesh Bank governor; National Board of Revenue chairman; secretaries of law, telecommunication, information and communication technology ministries; Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman; Newspapers Owners Association of Bangladesh president; Google; Facebook; Yahoo! Inc. and YouTube, LLC.

To monitor the process, the government needs to form a special committee with the requisite technical know-how to assess the nature and volume of online financial transactions with the internet giants and realise the arrears, Kabir said. Tech giants like Google and Facebook earn hundreds of crores of taka by running Bangladeshi ads on their platforms, according to market sources.

But, there are no official numbers, and The Daily Star could not independently verify the claim.

In most cases, companies purchase ad space on the platforms through illegal channels in the absence of any government monitoring on the process.

Lawyers also mentioned the NOAB's concerns over the phenomenon of digital advertisement, which is depriving traditional media of advertisement revenue.

Meanwhile, in a meeting on Monday with the newspaper and private television channel representatives, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said the government will impose tax on advertisement on Google and Facebook.

Muhith said the government will demand tax on the digital giants' earnings in the upcoming national budget as such taxes are paid everywhere, including India.

In the petition, the lawyers also requested an order to formulate appropriate guidelines to collect tax, VAT and other charges from digital advertisement.


৭ ঘণ্টা আগে|বাংলাদেশ

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