Value Added Tax (VAT) is a common form of consumption tax that is imposed on goods and services. In 1991, the Government of Bangladesh introduced VAT by replacing the sales tax. Over the years, the role of VAT as a source of revenue is increasing across the country. VAT is positively related with Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The reasoning of having positive impact of VAT on GDP is due to the fact that VAT has increased the revenue base of the government. The government uses the revenue to meet different expenditures for the country’s development purpose. These development projects or expenditures ultimately become part of GDP.
During the past few years, the country’s GDP is increasing satisfactorily. VAT with a positive impact on GDP is contributing to the economic growth of the country. In every national budget, the government increases its expenditures largely to support the steady growth of GDP. To meet the regular increased budget expenditures, more emphasis is given on VAT. So, it is the duty and responsibility of each and every individual or organisation to pay VAT regularly. But is it most unfortunate to state that the country’s three major telecom operators—Grameenphone, Robi and Banglalink—are yet to pay VAT amounting to Tk 4.38 billion to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) despite five repeated notices issued to them by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). BTRC sent the notices to them from April 2019 to January 2020 asking them to clear the VAT. But the operators did not pay heed to the BTRC’s notices in the last 15 months.We acknowledge the role of the three telecom operators to increase mobile access by bringing a wide range of benefits to the Bangladesh economy and society, including increased productivity and economic growth. It is also true that the mobile operators are doing a brisk business in the country fetching good profits. So, they should immediately patch up with the BTRC and the NBR for their own interest as well as for the greater national interest and pay the unpaid amount of VAT without further delay.