Facebook opens account in Bangladesh to pay taxes 

Social media giant Facebook Inc has registered in Bangladesh to pay Value Added Tax or VAT from its advertisement revenue and other earnings in the country.

Three companies registered for the Business Identification Number or BIN at the National Board of Revenue on Sunday, said Pramila Sarker, an additional commissioner at the office of the Dhaka South Customs, Excise and VAT Commissionerate.      

The companies are Facebook Ireland Ltd, Facebook Payment International and Facebook Technologies Ireland Ltd. They confirmed the registration via Hoque Bhattacharjee Das and Company.

Now Facebook’s agent VAT No. is 100004.

Earlier, Facebook had been paying the taxes through its local authorised sales partner.

It directly paid Tk 93 million through the sales partner. It also paid through banks my but the NBR was yet to get the accounts from the Bangladesh Bank, said Additional Commissioner Pramila.  

Now PricewaterhouseCoopers is working as Facebook’s agent.

Another tech giant, Alphabet Inc’s Google, registered to pay VAT on May 25.

After hearing a writ petition, the High Court in November 2020 ordered the authorities to collect revenue, including tax at source and other taxes on all sorts of transactions for advertisement, domain sale, licence and other fees, from internet-based platforms like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, YouTube and Amazon.

The global internet-based firms are drawing millions of takas from Bangladesh as the users have become habituated to seeing the ads on these platforms, according to the petitioner.

But the government has failed to collect satisfactory amounts of revenue from the tech giants in two and a half years following an interim order.

The telecom regulators BTRC in a report submitted to the High Court in June 2019 said the five mobile phone operators of Bangladesh paid Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, WhatsApp, Amazon, Imo and other internet-based firms nearly Tk 87.5 billion in five years in advertisement revenue. 

The NBR, in another report submitted at the same time, said the amount was Tk 1.33 billion in five years.