Nearly 12,000 taxpayers have legalised Tk 200 billion (20,000 crore) through various means in 2020-21 fiscal.

Seven thousand of them whitened Tk 170 billion (17,000 crore) showing it as wealth in the form of cash while remaining money was whitened by purchasing land and flats and investing in the stock market, according to a periodical report of the National Board of Revenue (NBR).

A scope was given to whiten cash, bank deposits and money invested in the share market and the savings certificates by paying 10 per cent in taxes.

Besides, money invested in the land and apartments was allowed to whiten by paying fixed amount of taxes.

According to the NBR sources, 11,859 taxpayers submitted their returns till June this year. 60 per cent of them legalised undisclosed money in form of cash.

More than 4,500 taxpayers whitened money by purchasing land and apartments.

As of May, some 389 people invested in the stock market. The NBR will finalise its report after including the taxpayers who invested black money in the stock market in June.

Policy Research Institute (PRI) executive director Ahsan H Mansur said The scope to whiten black money by paying taxes in low rate discourages the honest taxpayers. It is also not ethically right.

The coronavirus pandemic might have curtailed the scope to launder money aboard, the economist said.

Ahsan H Mansur thinks perhaps more people have taken advantage of it.

The highest amount of money was legalised in the outgoing fiscal year.

As many as 32,558 taxpayers whitened more than Tk 35 billion (3,500 crore) during the caretaker government in 2007.

The successive governments have allowed taxpayers to legalise their undisclosed money for 15 times so far since 1975.