NBR freezes 3 mobile co accounts

The National Board of Revenue on Thursday put a freeze on bank accounts of three mobile operators—Robi, Banglalink and Citycell—for not paying Tk 393.49 crore as supplementary duties and value added tax on SIM and RIM card sales, a senior NBR official said.

The large taxpayers unit (LTU-VAT) of NBR sent a letter to all commercial banks to freeze all the accounts of Robi, Banglalink and Citycell and requested the banks to adjust the dues of NBR from the bank accounts within 15 days, he said.

The banks were also requested to suspend withdrawal or transfer of money kept in the accounts of the mobile companies.

An official of Eastern Bank told that they had already frozen the accounts of Robi, Banglalink and Citycell following the instruction of the NBR.

Officials of a number of banks also said that they were freezing the accounts in the evening.

Of the unpaid amount, Robi’s dues are worth Tk 181.79 crore, Banglalink Tk 164.64 crore and Citycell Tk 47.06 crore which they did not pay as supplementary duty and VAT on SIM and RIM card sales from August 2006 to March 2007.

After a long legal battle, in August 2012, the NBR got a verdict from the high court which ordered the operators to pay the money to NBR.

Admitting the freeze of their bank accounts, mobile operators told New Age that officials from some banks had informed the operators about the NBR’s decision and mobile companies will talk with the NBR.

NBR officials said that mobile operators did not pay the above mentioned money in spite of court order and repeated warnings from the revenue board.

In last week, the LTU served notice to the operators including GrameenPhone to pay a total of Tk 741 crore which has been unpaid by them as supplementary duties and VAT, they said.

In the letter, LTU warned the operators that their bank accounts would be frozen if they failed to pay the money.

But the mobile operators, except GP, failed to pay the money. GP paid Tk 348 crore following the NBR’s direction, officials said.

On Thursday, the banks were asked to inform the NBR in 15 days if they adjusted the dues from the bank accounts.

The bank accounts will automatically be opened as soon as the dues are adjusted to the NBR account, officials said, adding that the revenue board has taken the decision to freeze the bank accounts in accordance with Article 56 of VAT act 1991.
Currently, all the bank accounts of state-owned Teletalk have also remained frozen for not paying taxes, NBR officials said, though he could not inform the unpaid amount owed by Teletalk.

Mehbood Chowdhury, chief executive officer of Citycell, also chairman of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB), said that they have heard about the NBR decision.

‘We will take our decision after examining the decision. We will also talk with the NBR as we have some points of discussion with them,’ he said.

However, Robi was reportedly planning to go to the court against the decision of NBR.

Robi vice-president Mohiuddin Babar told New Age that they did not find a certified copy of the verdict of the high court and they were waiting for that.

‘We have some queries and sought a hearing with NBR on this issue, but without giving us a chance the tax administration froze our bank accounts,’ he said, adding that they will go to court against the NBR’s decision next week.

News Source: 
The New Age