'This taskforce will mainly work at the field level and conduct drives to identify the foreigners working here'' said a senior NBR official
The National Board of Revenue (NBR)is going to form a taskforce to identify the foreign nationals working in Bangladesh to bring them under the tax net.
There will be representatives of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida), National Security Intelligence (NSI) and police in the taskforce apart from the NBR.
"This taskforce will mainly work at the field level and conduct drives to identify the foreigners working here," a senior NBR official told UNB.
The taskforce will take the help of technology to find out the entry and of exit of foreign nationals, their places of stay and number of their entries to Bangladesh, he said.
The senior NBR official at its income tax wing said currently, there is no well-managed specific data in the country about the foreign nationals staying in the country.
In 2016, the revenue collecting authority took a move to this end but to no avail.
At that time, it found some 30 companies that engaged foreign nationals in various types of jobs. Besides, tax officials established booths at airports and land ports, but the initiatives did not bring any positive result.
NBR Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan at a recent program said they wanted to bring the foreign nationals under the tax net. "Some foreign nationals work in Bangladesh after arriving here on tourist visas. This should be stopped," he had said.
According to statistics placed by Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan in the 10th Parliament on February 8, 2018, some 85,486 foreign nationals of 44 countries are involved in various types of jobs here legally.
Of them, 35,386 Indians are engaged in jobs here which is the highest from a single country. Foreigners from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, South Korea and some European and African countries are also working in Bangladesh.
Of the total numbers, 67,853 are businessmen, 8,300 experts, 3,682 officials, 2,105 players and sports organisers, 922 capital investors, 804 personal staff, 727 technical professionals, 561 NGO workers, 400 research or training staff and 132 are house assistants.
According to the Bida, the number of work-permit takers in Bangladesh is 7,034 while the number of electronic tax identification number (e-TIN) holders is 12,041.
But the NBR thinks the actual number of foreign nationals engaged in jobs in Bangladesh will be 4-5 times higher.
The decision to form the taskforce was taken at an NBR board meeting held recently at its conference room with its chairman in the chair.
"The NBR has the information that a good number of foreign nationals are staying in the country without valid documents and engaged in service in various trades. However, local business entities don't give information about their foreign employees to the NBR. As a result, the country is depriving of taxes," the NBR official said.
To stop the evasion of tax by the foreigners, a new section has also been added to the Income Tax Ordinance in 2015-16 under which one will be jailed for three months to three years and panelised Tk5 lakh or both if he/she appoints any foreigners without prior permission of the authorities concerned. The companies will also lose tax holiday or exemption benefits.
All the foreigners are bound to pay 30 percent tax on their income if they stay and work in the country for 90 days a year.