Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Bangladesh court orders tax on Google, Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Yahoo ads

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2018-04-12 19:23:35 BdST


The High Court has ordered the authorities to tax the transactions on Bangladeshi advertisements posted on Google, Facebook, YouTube and other similar websites.

It has also asked why the order for an interim period should not be made permanent following a writ petition on Thursday.

The respondents have been asked to answer the court within four weeks.

In the order on Thursday, the court mentioned search engines Google and Yahoo, global ecommerce platform Amazon, social media website Facebook and video-sharing website YouTube.

Besides the advertisements, all other transactions like domain sale, licence fees will be under tax-at-source, duty and all other sorts of taxes. 

The respondents include the finance, law, post and telecoms, and information secretaries, Bangladesh Bank governor, National Board of Revenue chairman, BTRC chairman, Newspaper Owners Association of Bangladesh president, and the authorities of Google, Yahoo, Amazon, and YouTube.

They are to submit a status report on the implemention of the order within June 25.

The bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal issued the order and the rule following the writ petition by six lawyers.

The lawyers moved the appeal on Apr 9 amid calls for monitoring the flow of money going abroad through the advertisements on Google, Facebook and YouTube. Many allege a huge amount of money is going out of the country illegally through these websites.   

Humayun Kabir Pallab, one of the petitioners who also stood for them at the hearing, told bdnews24.com these websites have become a part and parcel of daily life in Bangladesh.

The globally renowned internet-based firms are drawing millions of taka from Bangladesh as the users are now used to seeing the ads on these platforms, he said.

“But the government is losing revenue while the UK, Italy, France and many other European countries are collecting huge revenues from these platforms,” he added.

A few days back, in a pre-budget meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith, bdnews24.com Editor-in-Chief Toufique Imrose Khalidi, Managing Director of Ekattor TV Mozammel Babu and Bonik Barta Editor Dewan Hanif Mahmud raised the issue. 
The minister agreed with the suggestion and said, “Tax will be imposed on their income. They are paying it everywhere but not here. We’ll ask them about this.”

Advocate Pallab said, “Along with the interim order, the court has asked for constitution of a committee to estimate taxes on their incomes earned from 2007 to the present day.”

In the pre-budget meeting, Khalidi urged the finance minister to ask advertisers and those websites to find out about how much money has so far been siphoned off from the country.