The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has ordered all commercial banks to freeze the accounts of the mobile network operator Robi for three days on account of unpaid taxes.
A letter, issued from the NBR’s Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) in this regard, was sent to chief executives of all commercials banks in the country, under section 26 (4) of the VAT Act 1991.
“Mobile phone operator Robi allegedly dodged around Tk19 crore VAT and supplementary duty (SD). All other operators, except Robi, had paid their due VAT on time. Freezing bank accounts is the first step to force the company to pay its dues,” LTU Tax Commissioner Motiur Rahman said.
According to the NBR letter, the LTU discovered after evaluating the company’s 2017 financial statement that Robi owes the state exchequer more than Tk18.72 crore in unpaid supplementary duties, unpaid VAT on rentals of office infrastructure, and unpaid supplementary VAT on sale of SIM, unpaid VAT on services rendered by the telecom regulator.
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Earlier on February 9, NBR issued a letter to Robi over tax evasion of Tk925 crore.
When contacted, Robi Vice President (Communications and Corporate Responsibility) Ekram Kabir claimed that his company did not evade any tax or VAT.
“This step is a continuation of our longstanding dispute with the revenue service. This move was made without even consulting or heads up. In this case, we (Robi) didn’t get any opportunity to present our case either," said Kabir.
“Moreover, the letter contains matters sub judice matters as well," he said.
Two operators, Robi and Airtel, merged in 2016. As a result, Robi Axiata Limited became the second largest mobile phone operator in Bangladesh.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com