E-commerce coming under strict tax regulations

Jannatul Islam

24 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

E-commerce coming under strict tax regulations

The government is going to bring the e-commerce companies under strict tax regulations to boost revenue income from this thriving sector. 

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) will introduce a provision to make the e-commerce platforms pay the tax in case the small traders fail to pay the revenue to the government, sources said.

Regarding the proposed regulations, E-commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) General Manager Jahangir Alam Shovon said the new regulations may create a new complexity for the growing e-commerce sector.

“The e-commerce companies are only facilitating the trade products and services through their platforms. NBR wants to introduce a new regulation to impose a new tax burden on e-commerce companies. If any vendors have dues with the revenue authorities, the e-commerce companies will have to pay the tax,” Jahangir Alam told the Daily Sun on Saturday.

The trade body leader further mentioned that e-CAB has already submitted recommendations to reduce the tax on the logistic companies tagged with the e-commerce companies.

“Ecommerce companies charge a flat rate to deliver products to the customers. It’s discouraging for customers who want to order low-cost products. We want 5 per cent tax instead of existing 15 per cent on the product delivery companies,” Jahangir added.

According to the E-cab, there are over 1,500 e-commerce platforms in the country while thousands of digital commerce ventures are operating through Facebook.

Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (Basis) is the apex trade body in the technology sector.

Basis President Syed Almas Kabir expressed hope the government will withdraw all kind of taxes on the e-commerce business as the sector is growing despite the impact of the corona pandemic. “We recommended providing incentives on digital payments to encourage cashless transactions. If this incentive can be divided between trader and customer equally, the volume of digital transactions will increase manifolds and the government will get more revenue from the sector,” Syed Almas Kabir told the Daily Sun.

The e-commerce companies have handled transactions of Tk 160 billion in 2020, according to e-CAB.

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) estimated around 166 per cent growth in e-commerce business in 2020 and the market size is expected to reach $3 billion in Bangladesh by 2023.