Regent Airways accounts frozen for tax evasion
Credit: Dhaka Tribune
The airline began commercial flight operations in 2010 and its fleet comprises five aircrafts
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has frozen the bank accounts one of the country’s private airlines, Regent Airways, for avoiding tax around Tk14 crore, confirmed sources at the NBR.
According to them, the Customs, Excise and VAT division under the revenue board has issued the order against the HG Aviation Ltd (Regent Airways), which is currently operating domestic and international flights, for not paying Tk13,98,37,400 as excise duty.
National Board of Revenue (NBR) sources said that the air passengers of domestic routes have to pay Tk 500 as excise duty; Tk 2,000 for travelling to Asian countries (excluding SAARC countries); and Tk 3,000 for travelling to Europe, the US, and other destinations. The airline operators charge the amount from the passenger in the ticket price.
According to sources, though it is mandatory to deposit excise duties collected from air ticket purchases, into government accounts, Regent Airways has not been paying the tax for long period of time.
Despite repeated letters from the office of Customs, Excise and VAT to the private airline authorities, requesting Regent Airways to pay the excise duty into the government account, the airline did not pay heed.
As the airline had not been paying the amount, the Customs, Excise and VAT office authorities, on Monday, issued a warrant of freezing Regent Airline’s account.
In the warrant letter, signed by deputy commissioner Md Sharafuddin Mia, the authorities asked the Branch Managers of Prime Bank, Uttara Branch, Eastern Bank Uttara Branch and Trust Bank Agrabad Branch to freeze the accounts of Regent Airways.
If the excise duty is not paid within seven days from the account freezing, the warrant asks the bank authorities to deposit Tk13,98,37,400 from the frozen accounts into the government accounts.
It also said to inform the Customs, Excise and VAT office about updates regarding the bank account freezing and deposis intotheir accounts.
A senior official at the office of Customs, Excise and VAT authorities, said that the accounts of Regent Airways have already been frozen and the unrealized duty will be deducted from the account if they do not pay by the deadline.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday evening, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Regent Airways Ashish Choudhury told the Dhaka Tribune: “We have talked with the revenue authorities and settled the issue with a mutual understanding today.”
However, this is not the first time the Regent Airways has been brought under NBR’s action.
On, 14 January of this year, the revenue authorities issued a warrant that they would confiscate Regent Airlines aircraft if they did not pay their outstanding tax of Thk9 crore as excise duty within 10 days.
That time, the airline authority also settled the issue by paying around Tk6 crore soon after the issuance of the warrant.
The Regent Airways (incorporated as HG Aviation Limited) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Habib Group—the Chattogram-based conglomerate with a diverse business portfolio.
The airline began commercial flight operations in 2010 and its fleet comprises five aircrafts.