The Commissionerate reviewed the audit reports of chartered accountancy firms and found that CA Properties Development Ltd, CPDL Ltd, and Epic Properties Ltd evaded VAT worth Tk 14.78 crore, Mohammed Enamul Haque, commissioner at the Commissionerate, said.
Subsequently, the agency, a department of the National Board of Revenue (NBR), issued demand letters to the companies in January claiming the amount.
CPDL and CA Properties Development, both owned by CPDL Group, evaded VAT worth Tk 14.04 crore and Epic Properties dodged Tk 74 lakh, sources at the Commissionerate said.
The three companies have appealed to the Customs, Excise & VAT Appellate Tribunal, calling for a review of the claim. The tribunal is yet to issue any directive.
As per law, the realtors have to pay 1.5 percent VAT for selling 1,100 square feet flat, 2.5 percent for 1,101-1,600 sqft flat, and 4.5 percent for flats above 1,601 sqft. But they had not paid the VAT, according to the demand letters of the Commissionerate.
Haque says there have been allegations of VAT dodging against real estate companies for a long time. Fifteen more realtors were also found to be involved in the same sort of irregularities. But the amount of the unpaid VAT is yet to be ascertained, he said.
“We will take legal action against them once we come to know about the amount of VAT evaded.”
Contacted, Iftekhar Uddin, managing director of CPDL Group, denied any wrongdoing.
SM Abu Sufyan, managing director of Epic Properties, said it was very difficult for them to find the years-old documents on income and expenses.
“We have filed a petition before the tribunal in this regard and are waiting for a decision.”
There are about 200 realtors in Chattogram, according to a source at the Real Estate & Housing Association of Bangladesh. Haque, the commissioner, said they would look into the audit reports of all the companies in phases.