The National Board of Revenue is set to hunt the organisers of the BCB celebration concert for non-payment of taxes on the payment to foreign performers, including Indian composer and singer AR Rahman and Senegalese-American hip-hop icon Akon, officials of the revenue board said.
They said that the organisers – Bangladesh Cricket Board, Blues Communications and Grey Advertising – did not even take permission from the revenue board for participation of foreign artistes in the concert.
Assigned by the Bangladesh Cricket Board, Blues Communications and Grey Advertising organised the concert on March 13 at Bangabandhu National Stadium ahead of the International Cricket Council T20 World Cup that kicked off on Sunday.
‘Before the concert, the revenue board asked the organisers to comply with the Income Tax Ordinance-1984 for deduction of advance income tax on payment to be made to foreign artistes, a high official of the NBR told New Age on Sunday. But, they did not respond to the call, he said.
‘Now, the revenue board will serve them with notice and ask them to pay the tax,’ he said.
He said that the officials of the NBR had started working on the issue. If the organisers fail to pay tax, the NBR will go for legal action.
According to article 56 of the income tax ordinance, 25 per cent tax is applicable to payment to any foreign nationals and the person or organisation paying the money is responsible to deduct the tax as advance income tax while making the payment.
The NBR, however, is yet to know the amount of money the organisers paid to AR Rahman, Akon and other foreign performers.
If any person or organisation fails to deduct the advance income tax, they will be liable to pay the tax to the NBR.
The NBR usually allows participation of foreign performers in a cultural show with a condition of deduction of tax at source by the organisers.
Officials of the NBR said that they were fully aware of the status of the concert as it was a state-sponsored programme. But according to the ordinance, such payment to foreigners was taxable.
Neither BCB nor Blues nor Grey, it is foreign performers who pay the tax at source. So it will not be appropriate to give them exemption, they said adding that the BCB had been exempted from tax on its income from the T20 World Cup.
Grey Advertising Bangladesh chief executive officer Syed Gousul Alam Shaon told New Age that the BCB had directly paid the artistes through the Bangladesh Bank.
‘So it is the BCB which can say about the deduction of tax,’ he said.
New Age repeatedly tried to contact BCB chief executive officer Nizam Uddin Ahmed over phone but could not reach him.
The organisers have also earned a huge amount of money from the sale of tickets. The highest price of ticket for the concert was Tk 75,000.
Besides AR Rahman and Akon, many foreign artistes, mostly Indians, also performed at the concert.