CPD for bringing Facebook, Google fully under tax net

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The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has proposed for bringing fully the global tech giants like Facebook and Google under the tax net.

The civil society think tank made the recommendation in a research titled “Taxing the digital economy: Trade off and opportunities” released at an event held in the capitalon Saturday. The CPD conducted the research with the assistance of European Union (EU).

Highlighting the recommendations of the research, distinguished fellow of CPD Mustafizur Rahman said although the government has been realising VAT from the global tech giants like Facebook and Google, it is yet to realise income tax from these firms.

“Because, they don’t have taxpayer identification number (TIN) as they do not have offices in Bangladesh. But, the global tech giants are earning a huge amount of money every year from Bangladesh. The National Board of Revenue (NBR) should frame necessary policy to bring these companies fully under the tax net,” he added.

The CPD distinguished fellow said that the local companies are offering advertisements worth around Taka 20 billion to the global tech giants like Facebook and Google every year, but their income remained outside of the purview of the income tax. “In order to increase internal resource mobilisation, it is required to impose tax against such newer services,” he added.

Noting that there is no other alternate way to increase the internal resource mobilisation to turn the country as ‘Smart Bangladesh’ as per the government’s vision, Mustafizur also suggested the government to gradually come out of the culture of tax exemption.

He further said that the government should take a well thought out initiative to increase the revenue generation through use of digital technology while looking for ways on how to flourish digital economy.

The CPD distinguished fellow said that if the trend of tax exemption continues every year, then it would not be possible to enhance expenditure in sectors like education and health.

He also suggested for framing a roadmap for imposing tax gradually on those sectors which are currently enjoying tax exemptions.

Mustafizur Rahman recommended for providing stimulus to the start-ups in such way so that newer sectors emerge, creating scopes for generating revenues.

Mentioning that double taxation still exists in some areas of digital economy, he said that such things should have to be addressed and policy support should be extended to flourish e-commerce and e-business.

Kazi Nabil, MP, and Ahsan Adekur Rahman, CPD distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya, CPD executive director Fahmida Khatun, BASIS director Habibullah N Karim spoke, among others, at the dialogue.