The telecom regulator has refrained from receiving mobile phone operators’ various payments for the April-June quarter after the latter declined to include the associated value-added tax in the sum.
Yesterday was the last day for making the payments, amounting to Tk 1,000 crore and pertaining to revenue sharing, social obligation fund, annual spectrum fee etc.
The operators say they were withholding the VAT as the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) does not have the relevant registration to receive it.
SM Farhad, secretary general of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (Amtob), said according to the recently passed VAT and Supplementary Duty Act 2012, it was mandatory for suppliers or service entities, including the BTRC, to have the VAT registration.
Under section 49(2), if a supplier is not registered or enlisted, and if a combined tax invoice and withholding certificate is not issued, the withholding entity shall not receive any supply from such supplier and shall pay no price against such supply to the supplier, he said.
The mobile phone operators want to pay the charges to the regulator to run the telecommunication service uninterrupted for the sake of more than 16 crore mobile users but the BTRC refused to accept it, the Amtob said.
However, Md Jahurul Haque, the BTRC chairman, said the commission would receive the payments sans the VAT only if the operators could produce in writing that the National Board of Revenue (NBR) would itself be receiving the VAT.
“Even if they do collect the NBR note, the last date has already passed and the operators failed to make their payments, so they will be charged 15 percent in late fees,” he said in the evening yesterday.
The VAT amount is huge and could be about Tk 150 crore, and the BTRC can’t take a decision on it by itself, Haque said.
Earlier, the Amtob had requested both the NBR and the BTRC to find a way for the quarterly charges to be paid avoiding legal complications but did not receive any response till date.
BTRC officials say if the commission gets registered, the operators will be able to claim rebates on the VAT, but NBR officials are not willing to register it.