The High Court yesterday ordered the government to realise appropriate tax, VAT and other charges from the revenues earned by different digital platforms including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo and YouTube.
In response to a writ petition, the court also asked the government to form a special committee to assess the amount of their financial transactions in the last 10 years and to submit a report to it by June 25. It also fixed June 28 for passing a further order on this issue.
The HC also issued a rule asking the respondents to explain in four weeks why they should not be directed to realise appropriate tax and revenue on the financial transactions of the domain sales, licence fees and advertisements of digital platforms in Bangladesh.
The respondents are the finance secretary; Bangladesh Bank governor; National Board of Revenue chairman; secretaries of law, telecommunications, information and communication technology ministries; Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman; Newspaper Owners Association of Bangladesh president; Google; Facebook; Yahoo! and YouTube.
The bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal came up with the order and rule following a writ petition filed by six Supreme Court lawyers.
Digital platforms like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo and YouTube are progressively earning substantial amounts from Bangladesh since 2007, but they do not pay any tax against the earnings, they said in the petition.
In the petition, the lawyers also requested an order to formulate appropriate guidelines to collect tax, VAT and other charges from digital advertisement.
Barrister Mohammad Humayun Kabir Pallab appeared for the writ petitioners while Deputy Attorney General Motaher Hossain Sazu represented the government.