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  • Last Update : 03:02 am

No tax on education

  • Published at 12:00 am September 6th, 2016
  • Last updated at 02:56 pm September 6th, 2016
No tax on education

We applaud the decision of the High Court to declare illegal the two gazette notifications from the government that imposed a 15% income tax on private universities.

Private universities should not be paying income tax.

Education is a fundamental right, and private universities are not-for-profit institutions. Levying a 15% income tax on private universities would have been anti-development and anti-education, and singling out private universities to tax would have gone against the spirit of the constitution which guarantees the right of citizens to choose what kind of education to give to their children.

There can be no justification on imposing an income tax on UGC-approved private universities only, a burden that public universities do not have to bear.

While the government requires that private universities remain not-for-profit, there can be no defense for the fact that the government itself would be trying to profit off the earnings of universities, which are the fees paid by the students for their education.

It is also a misconception that private university students, as opposed to public university students, are rich, and therefore can afford to pay a little more. The truth is, most private university students come from hard-working, middle-class backgrounds, and often struggle to make tuition. Many of them study on scholarships.

The imposition of an income tax on private universities, then, under the notion that these universities cater to rich students, is utterly misguided.

In developed nations such as the United States, most private universities enjoy tax exemptions. Because of this, they are able to improve their facilities and standard of education. There is no reason the same should not apply to Bangladesh.

The High Court made the right call in scrapping the government order to put an income tax on private universities. The future of our youth is what matters.

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