Telecom operators seek tax exemptions
The telecom operators want the upcoming national budget to withdraw the 21.75 percent VAT, supplementary duty and surcharge that people pay to use SIM cards.
They also sought amendments to some clauses of the tax laws for the sake of digitisation of the economy.
The Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (Amtob) has recently placed a set of proposals on the budget to the National Board of Revenue (NBR).
The association wanted the taxes to go as the mobile users purchase internet data and applications through their SIM cards.
"If the government withdraws the VAT and other taxes from internet usage, it will significantly become cheaper for the end users. That will ultimately help build a digital country," according to the proposals paper signed by TIM Nurul Kabir, secretary general of the association.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith has recently given assurance of reducing taxes on internet usage, in a programme of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services. As in previous budgets, Amtob has again wanted withdrawal of a VAT and supplementary duty of Tk 100 on sales of SIMs, as more people are using smartphones now to avail different telecom services.
The government reduced the duty on sales of SIM to Tk 100 from Tk 800 couple of years ago. But this Tk 100 duty should also go to help marginal people get mobile connections at cheaper rates, Amtob said.
If the duty is withdrawn, the government may lose some funds; but the move will definitely help expand the mobile customer base, leaving a positive impact on the country's gross domestic product, reads the proposal.
Amtob also sought withdrawal of the 10 percent tax on corporate social responsibility expenditures, as such tax may discourage the mobile operators to spend more of such funds.
They also sought a complete directive from the NBR on taxes payable by e-commerce businesses to prevent grassroots level tax officials from charging excessively.
Another amendment was sought for bringing down corporate tax on earnings of publicly listed and non listed companies from 40 and 45 percent respectively to 25 and 35 percent.