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Finance Minister Muhith hints slashing corporate tax

Finance Minister AMA Muhith has hinted slashing the rate of corporate tax in the budget for fiscal year 2017-18.
The minister made the hint on Sunday while speaking at the joint advisory meeting between the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) in the capital.

“The government is thinking to cut the corporate tax this time. We’re also thinking to fix the tax exemption limit for individual taxpayers for a period of three to five years,” said the finance minister.

NBR chairman Md Nojibur Rahman, FBCCI president Abul Matlub Ahmad, senior vice-president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, DCCI president Abul Kashem Khan, among others, spoke at the meeting held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC).

During the meeting the businesspeople proposed to slash the rates of all types of corporate tax.
They also proposed to increase the tax exemption limit for individual taxpayers to Tk 3.25 lakh from the existing limit of Tk 3.0 lakh.

The finance minister said efforts are underway to give the tax exemption limit for individual taxpayers, including women, a permanent shape. Like the development countries, including the USA, there will be an announcement on income limit and tax must be paid on the surplus income of the limit, he added.

Muhith said businesspeople are raising demand that they would not pay for advance VAT. At present 5 percent advance VAT is collected, he said, adding that he would try to consider the demand of the businesspeople in the next budget.

About the consumer protection act, the finance minister, “Bangladesh is weak in tobacco tax. There will be a good tobacco tax in the next fiscal year. There is no bidi, all are low quality cigarettes”.

Terming the upcoming budget as ambitious, he said the taxpayers faced harassment in the past but the situation has now been changed and the people, especially the new generation, are now eager to pay tax. So, there is a plan to increase the size of the next budget, he added.

When a businessman threatened to wage protests if the VAT rate as proposed by the FBCCI is not accepted, Muhith said, “how many small and medium industrial units are paying VAT. You are waging meaningless protests. If you wage movement we will curb it.”

About the corporate tax, the FBCCI proposed slashing the corporate tax on listed companies to 22 percent from 25 percent. It proposed 30 percent tax on other non-listed other productive companies. It also proposed to reduce tax on listed banks, insurances and other financial institutions to 37 percent from the existing 40 percent.

Source: Daily Sun, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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