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Dhaka Tribune

Yunus clarifies gift tax dispute with NBR

Update : 24 Mar 2015, 06:14 PM

Nobel Laureate Professor Mohammad Yunus has cleared his position about tax dispute ensued between him and the National Board of Revenue over gifting of earned money to his family members.

“This is not legally required as the donation is tax-free according to the Gift Tax of 1990. Professor Yunus has appealed to the High Court and the case is now  sub-judice,” he said in a statement yesterday.

His argument came in response to the claim made by the National Board of Revenue that Yunus had given out about Tk77 crore as gift to his family members and others over three assessment years, against which Tk15.39 crore as tax was payable to the state.

On March 23, the revenue board sent a notice, asking Professor Yunus or his nominated representative to meet with tax commissioner on March 29 in respect of this gift tax issue which is currently in court.

The statement said Yunus’ representative will accordingly meet the commissioner on that date. 

Yunus receives very high fees for speaking at international conferences, it said.

“In many places, audiences purchase tickets to hear him speak. Several books written by him have been translated into 25 languages around the world. His books have been included in the New York Times Best Seller list. He remits earnings from books, speeches and prizes back to Bangladesh through formal banking channels,” according to the assessment made by the authorities.

From 2011 to 2014 financial years, Professor Yunus donated almost all of his earnings – a total of  Tk77.42 crore, after paying all necessary taxes claimed by the Tax Authority – Tk72 crore to  Muhammad Yunus Trust for charitable purposes, research and development, plus social development and Tk5 crore to Yunus Family Trust for family members’ welfare, the statement said, adding that these donations were shown in his income tax return.

“The tax authority accepted this up to 2013 and did not raise any questions, and issued tax payment certificate accordingly,” it said. 

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