GP pays highest corporate tax last fiscal

The GP, now a public limited company (PLC), maintained its the top position among the corporate income taxpayers during the four consecutive years.

Among the top taxpayers under the Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) of the income tax wing of the National Board of Revenue (NBR), Islami Bank is placed in the second position with its payments of income tax amounting to Tk 3.50 billion in fiscal 2011.

Standard Chartered Bank followed Islami Bank, having paid Tk 3.0 billion in income tax during the year.

Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), also a foreign bank, contributed Tk 1.80 billion as income tax to the public exchequer, occupying the fourth position among the large tax payers, according to a provisional data of the LTU.

Islami Bank paid Tk 3.30 billion in fiscal 2009-10 when Standard Chartered Bank made payments of Tk 2.93 billion and HSBC, Tk 1.75 billion, as income tax, the data by the LTU showed.

Income tax officials admitted that they faced a somewhat challenging situation to meet the increased revenue target for fiscal 2010-11 as some banks had shown a lower amount of profits until June, 2011 following their losses sustained in the wake of the collapse of share market in January last. However, the NBR could finally exceed the target of income tax for the last fiscal. Most of companies included in the LTU paid more amounts of income taxes in fiscal 2010-11 than those of fiscal 2009-10.

However, most banks that are included in the LTU will close their annual accounts in December 2011, at the end of the calendar year, as is the case every year. The real impact of the stressed situation, now facing most financial institutions, on tax revenues will be clearly known by the end of the calendar year.

The NBR earlier revised upward the target of tax collection for LTU by Tk 2.0 billion in fiscal 2010-11.

A senior tax official said the LTU surpassed the revised target. It collected Tk 74.24 billion revenue in the last fiscal against its revised target Tk 74.0 billion.

The official said tax collection from gas companies and treasury bills of Bangladesh Bank (BB) dropped significantly in the last fiscal.

He said revenue collection from gas companies dropped because of the decline in gas production.

From treasury bills of BB, the LTU received Tk 840 million as taxes last year against Tk 1.23 billion in fiscal 2009-10.

Officials said banks are the major corporate taxpayers after GrameenPhone.

Talking to the FE Thursday, chief corporate affairs officer of GP, Mahmud Hossain said the telecom is a heavily taxed sector in Bangladesh compared to that of the other countries.

"We can provide telecom service at a reasonable cost if the government eases the tax burden on the sector," he said, while welcoming the recent lowering of SIM (subscribers' identification module) card tax.

He said the telecom companies can expand their network in the rural areas and the number of subscribers will then also go up significantly.

Tax officials said banks alone contribute 52 per cent of total taxes collected from large taxpayers, the number of which stands at 281 companies.

Around 987 large taxpayers have been paying taxes under LTU. Of them, there are 281 companies and 706, individuals.

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