Checkposts at airports to stop tax evasion by foreigners
The revenue board is set to set up checkpoints at the immigration of country’s international airports to check tax evasion particularly by growing numbers of foreigners taking up jobs in Bangladesh. Officials said under the plan of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) the checkposts will be set up before June to make sure that no foreigners can leave the country without paying due tax. Foreign citizens have to show tax-clearance certificate at the immigration point before flying out, officials said. “There will be a booth where income-tax official will verify the tax-clearance certificate of the foreigners,” said a senior official of the NBR. In case of non-payment of tax and failure in producing the tax certificate, the official will collect the due taxes on the basis of documents from the foreigners, he said. In the budget for FY 2015-16, the government has devised penal provisions in the income tax law for ensuring tax payment by foreign nationals working in Bangladesh. “We are going to gradually implement the penal provisions to thwart tax evasion by foreign nationals in Bangladesh,” he said. Early this month, the NBR sent letters to the Board of Investment (BoI), the Bureau of Non-Government Organisations, Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA), immigration and the chief executive officer of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) wing-1 seeking information of undocumented foreign nationals. Already, the NBR has received data from the Board of Investment (BoI) on the number of foreigners who obtained work permit. On an average, around 12,000 foreig nationals receive work permits from the BoI every year while a significant number of others get theirs permits renewed. According to the Income Tax Ordinance, foreign workers are required to pay 30 per cent tax on their income. However, there is no tax-free ceiling for the foreign citizens in Bangladesh. Tax officials came to know about tax evasion by the illegal foreign workers. They said even many legal foreigners evade paying tax with the help of their employers through showing less income or not registering with the income- tax offices. In the current budget 2015-16, the government restricted employment of foreigners sans work permit and slapped heavy penalty and imprisonment for employers for violation of the law. Tax officials can impose penalty on companies and the owners as much as 50 per cent of their total payable income tax, or Tk 0.5 million, and scrap all other tax benefits as fines for recruiting unauthorised foreign nationals.