By The Daily Star/ANN
Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday said the government is going to impose tax on advertisements on Google and Facebook in Bangladesh.
“We will ask for tax on their earnings in the upcoming national budget… such taxes are paid everywhere, including India,” he told reporters after a pre-budget discussion with owners of newspapers and private television channels at the State Guest House Padma.
The government will also impose “landing fees” on the Indian TV channels being broadcast in Bangladesh, he said.
Besides, it will ask all the cable operators in the capital and elsewhere to digitise their services in phases so that it could impose tax on their earnings.
Muhith also said the Value Added Tax (VAT) on private universities will stay but that would be collected from the university owners, not the students.
“We don't know how they [the owners] will deal with the issue but charging students for this will be illegal,” he said.
On the newspaper industry, the minister said it would get concessions on newsprint import. The current 5 percent import duty will remain in force but the 12.5 percent VAT and 5 percent advanced income tax will be adjusted, he said.
However, the decision on the amount of the tax waiver was yet to be made.
Later, Muhith said the government would “rationalise” corporate tax in the next budget as the tax rate is very high.
The objective will be to remove so many different rates in the sector, he said.
Earlier at a meeting with senior officials of different ministries, the minister had promised to examine the scope for reducing corporate income tax for the upcoming fiscal. The finance ministry organised the meeting ahead of the budget.
Currently, the revenue authority collects corporate tax in six categories, ranging from 25 percent to 45 percent. Companies listed with the bourse face a 25 percent tax while non-listed ones pay 35 percent. Cigarette and bidi manufacturers have to pay a 45 percent income tax.
Finance Secretary Mohammad Muslim Chowdhury, Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman, The Daily Star Editor and Publisher Mahfuz Anam, Daily Samakal owner AK Azad, The Financial Express Editor AHM Moazzem Hossain, bdnews24.com editor-in-chief Toufique Imrose Khalidi and National Board of Revenue Chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, among others, attended yesterday's discussion.