Bangladesh to tax rich more as pandemic widens inequality

The rich will have to pay more tax once the proposed budget for the fiscal year starting on Jul 1 is passed.

In the Finance Bill unveiled with the budget on Thursday, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal also proposed some respite for the middle class to bridge the economic inequality widened by the coronavirus pandemic.  

Provisions of imposing surcharge along with income tax on the wealthy people depending on size of wealth are already in place to reduce inequality, Kamal said.

For easy and simple application of surcharge, he proposed to cut the number of slabs to five from seven, with 35 percent surcharge for the richest citizens having more than Tk 500 million in wealth. The maximum surcharge in the existing system is 30 percent for wealth of more than Tk 200 million.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal delivers the budget speech for the 2021-22 fiscal year in parliament on Thursday, Jun 3, 2021. Photo: PMO

The owners of properties worth Tk 30 million to Tk 100 million, or more than one car, or land property with an area of more than 8,000 square feet in city corporation areas will have to pay 10 percent surcharge.

The surcharge will be 20 percent for those having properties worth Tk 100 million to Tk 200 million, and 30 percent for Tk 200 million to Tk 500 million in wealth.

People having wealth of up to Tk 30 million will not have to pay surcharge.

Kamal also propose to withdraw the provision of paying surcharge on wealth when there is no taxable income, and also to withdraw the provision of paying minimum surcharge.

“This will make compliance with the provisions of surcharge easier, and will also decrease the tax burden of the middle class,” he said.