The VAT intelligence has filed a case against leading advertising agency Adcomm on allegation of evasion of value-added tax (VAT), said a senior official of the field office of the National Board of Revenue (NBR).
The agency did not properly deposit the VAT collected from clients, said Moinul Khan, director general of the VAT Audit, Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (VAIID), in an email press statement yesterday.
The ad agency, however, said it believed that it paid VAT as per guidelines till date.
The NBR's field office said it conducted a drive at Dhaka's Tejgaon office of the agency on April 14, 2019 and seized commercial documents of the firm.
The VAAID considered in its audits the accounts of the Adcomm for five years since the year 2013-14.
It said that the seized commercial documents were cross-examined with the VAT returns submitted by the company to the VAT circle.
The NBR's field office said it found in its audit that the advertising agency did not deposit Tk 2.33 crore VAT against advertisements. At the same time, the agency avoided Tk 1.11 lakh VAT on space rentals, Tk 41.5 lakh as VAT at source, according to the VAAID statement issued by Khan.
"Adcomm dodged a total of Tk 2.96 crore of VAT on various heads," said Khan in the statement, adding that the total amount of the indirect tax payable by the company stood at Tk 5.76 crore as 2 per cent monthly interest was payable on the VAT amount because of the failure of the firm to deposit the tax timely to the state coffer.
"The case has been filed under VAT law following a long investigation," he said.
The VAAID sent the case to the VAT Commissionerate Dhaka South for settlement.
Khan said this was a charge sheet and the company would be required to pay the claimed VAT amount along with fines once it was proved through legal process that the company had unpaid VAT.
Adcomm said, while there was an ongoing routine investigation, the respective authorities did not go back to the company with their findings.
"They have not sought clarifications or justifications from us about these allegations," said a press release issued by Mahmudul Kabir Hira, head of finance of Adcomm.
"At Adcomm, we have been diligent in ensuring that financial transparency is maintained and that adherence to all regulations has been paramount. We believe that till date all VAT amount had been paid as per guidelines. And if any divergence from that is brought to our notice we will address that promptly," he said.
Adcomm said it had paid over Tk 21 crore in VAT over last five years and this is the first time in the last 45 years that such allegations have been brought against it.