The High Court (HC) Sunday ordered the government to realise all kinds of tax, VAT and other charges from revenues earned by digital platforms such as Google, Facebook, YouTube and Amazon.
The HC asked the relevant government offices, including the National Board of Revenue, Bangladesh Bank and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to take immediate steps to implement the ruling.
The HC bench of Justice Md Ashraful Kamal and Justice Rajik Al Jalil passed the order Sunday, disposing of a rule issued in this regard.
Barrister Humayun Kabir Pallab appeared for the writ petitioners in the court accompanied by Barristers Mohammad Kawsar; Md Majedul Quader; Mozammel Haque, and Sajjadul Islam.
Pallab later told the press that the court had issued five directives after the final hearing of the writ petition filed in the public interest to bring about "revolutionary change in Bangladesh's revenue collection".
The directives are as follows:
- All kinds of tax, VAT and other appropriate charges must be realised from the revenues of digital platforms such as Google, Facebook, YouTube and Amazon.
- Charges must be realised at a proportional rate as arrears from revenues earned thus far by the platforms.
- The National Board of Revenue will submit a progress report every six months in the form of an affidavit.
- This judgment will remain in effect as an ongoing order or continuing mandamus.
- In the event of any deviation in the implementation of the ruling, any citizen of Bangladesh can seek redress at any time by filing an application with the court.
In 2018, six lawyers, including Barrister Pallab, filed a writ petition in public interest with the HC. They had attached several media reports with the petition, highlighting various incidents of tax evasion by the platforms.