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NBR mulls quick disposal of long-pending cases

WT24 Desk

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has taken an initiative to have the long-pending cases involving huge money disposed of on priority basis, agencies report.

Official sources said the revenue collecting authority has planned to maintain a strong contact with the Attorney General’s office to resolve income tax, VAT and duty-related cases pending with the country’s highest court.

They said NBR Chairman Nojibur Rahman and Attorney General Mahbubey Alam at a meeting recently discussed the necessity of quick disposal of the pending cases, acceleration of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and improvement of internal procedures to reduce court cases.

The number of pending cases in the High Court is 22,747 involving Tk 25,783. Of the total, the number of income tax-related cases is 2,711 involving Tk 7413 crore.

Some 17,470 import duty-related cases are pending at the High Court involving Tk 4835, while the number of VAT-related cases is 2566, involving Tk 13534 crore.  At the meeting, the emphasis was given on utilising the ADR system to settle the cases.

The NBR introduced ADR on July 1, 2012 to accelerate the disposal of revenue-related cases through out-of-court settlements.

Some 375 cases related to import duty have so far been settled through ADR involving Tk 119.87 crore. The number of income tax-related cases settled through ADR is 305 related to Tk 115 crore while the number of VAT-related cases settled through this system is only five while the realised money accounts for Tk 2 crore.

Recently, the NBR has won a case relating to VAT and Supplementary Duty evasion of Tk 174.49 crore against Jamuna Group by its now-defunct unit, Aromatic Cosmetics, between 1996 and 2000.

Dhaka North VAT office had issued claims of Tk 174.49 crore after inspections of Aromatic Cosmetics’ factory in Gazipur.

The NBR found that Aromatic Cosmetics had dodged VAT and supplementary duty by not declaring the prices of some products, showing lower prices of products and taking fake rebate.

As per the VAT law, two percent interest is applicable per month if any firm does not deposit the VAT to the coffers in due time. So, the total amount of dues will come to about Tk 700 crore, according to the NBR.

Jamuna took the matter to court and the trial dragged on for years. In 2003, the company filed two petitions with the High Court, both of which were later dismissed. Two years later, Jamuna Group filed an appeal to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

On March 16, a verdict came in favour of the government, clearing ways for the tax collecting authority to realise the money. The law permits the shuttering of the firm, freezing of bank accounts and imposing a bar on imports and exports of associated firms.

Buoyed by the verdict from the highest court in their favour, the NBR has decided to lay greater emphasis on having the big pending cases disposed of.

“The verdict of the Highest Court is a very positive sign for the Board, we are now cheered up to realise revenue from the pending cases that are piled up in the courts for years,” a senior official at the NBR told UNB.

He also said such verdicts will help the NBR touch the target for them in the current fiscal year. The revenue collecting authority got a target of Tk 176,370 crore for the 2015-16 fiscal against Tk 135,028 crore last year.

This year, an amount of Tk 64,971 crore will come from income tax, while Tk 64,262 crore from VAT and Tk 18,752 from import duty. The target for export duty has been fixed at Tk 37 crore, excise duty at Tk 1,239 crore and supplementary duty at Tk 25,875.

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