With some tweaks, amnesty stays for money launderers in Bangladesh

Bangladesh will continue to be able to bring back undeclared funds from abroad by paying taxes without facing any questions, as the authorities have abandoned the plan to end the provision for FY 2022-23.

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 29 June 2022, 09:26 PM
Updated : 29 June 2022, 09:26 PM

The government has passed the Finance Bill for 2022-23 with a modified provision offering amnesty to the money launderers.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal had proposed a 15 percent tax on immovable property located abroad, and a 10 percent tax on movable property that has not been brought back to the country.

He had also proposed 7 percent tax on money coming into Bangladesh as part of his efforts to fund the Tk 6.78 trillion expenditure he has planned, drawing intense criticism that the option will encourage money laundering.

In the revised bill that was passed in parliament on Wednesday, the minister dropped the options to legalise properties, both movable and immovable, located abroad.

He retained the scope of bringing funds, raising the tax rate slightly to 7.5 percent. No agency will want to know the source of the funds, according to the provision.

A new rule has also been included in the revised provision: if a Bangladeshi is found to have undisclosed properties abroad, they will be fined. The fines will be equal to the “fair value” of the property.

The authorities will be able to confiscate properties of the person or their representative for the collection of the fines. Tax officials will also be able to investigate the properties abroad.

CORPORATE TAX

Kamal also brought changes to the provision cutting corporate tax rates for listed and unlisted companies.

If all earnings, along with spending and investments over Tk 3.6 million, are shown in bank accounts, the tax rate for unlisted companies has been cut to 27.5 percent from 30 percent and to 22.5 percent from 25 percent for one-person companies. In the proposal, the government had kept the minimum spending at Tk 1.2 million.

For listed companies with 10 percent IPO, Kamal had propose to cut the tax rate from 22.5 percent to 20 percent, but companies with less than that will be subjected to a tax rate of 22.5 percent.

The tax rate for companies failing to meet these conditions has been raised from 22.5 percent to 25 percent.

Kamal had proposed to make proof of tax return submission mandatory for a vast number of activities for individuals and organisations.

In the revised bill, he relaxed the rules, retaining them only for individuals.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher