Govt begged Tk 175 cr as traders legalized illegal gold
Gold jewelers paid over Tk 175 crore in tax to legalise undeclared gold stock in their possession including diamond and silver at the three-day gold fair that ended in a city hotel on Tuesday last.
The fair, first ever held in the country following the government decision to allow import of bullion in private sector was the first of its kind and saw more than 1,200 jewellers and traders made their possession public.
They legalised their possession upon payment of certain amount of tax NBR announced earlier. It was not possible to ascertain the volume of gold and other metals declared as the tax on gold, diamond and silver varies, said Dilip Kumar Agarwal, general secretary of Bangladesh Jewelers Samity at the press briefing after the closing ceremony.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) organised the three-day event. Similar fairs were also held at the other divisional cities as part of the tax administration’s initiative to allow jewellers and traders to disclose the stock of precious metals to taxmen by June 30.
At the closing ceremony, NBR Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said tax collection from gold declared by jewelers would be about Tk 300 crore by June 30.
Agarwala, also the managing director of Diamond World, said Tk 400 crore in tax would be deposited in the national coffer thanks to the scope. According to the NBR, traders and goldsmiths can legalise undeclared and stocked gold and gold ornaments by paying Tk 1,000 per bhori.
For cut and polished diamond, the rate will be Tk 6,000 per carat. In case of silver, jewelers will have to pay Tk 50 a bhori, according to a notification of the NBR in May. Anyone with trade licence, VAT registration and taxpayers identification number will get the scope to declare their undisclosed gold to taxmen.
In November last year, the government framed gold policy in order to clean the gold trade, make import and export easier, stop smuggling and ensure transparency in the trade.
The policy came in the face of demand from jewellers after the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate seized huge volume of gold from Apan Jewellers for failure to show valid documents in favour of the precious metal.
Bangladesh’s annual demand for gold ranges between 20 tonnes and 40 tonnes and almost 80 percent of it is met through illegal imports as traders shy away from importing the precious metal owing to complexities in the procedure.
Like Apan Jewellers, almost all jewelers have gold in stock but they cannot show it in their income tax returns because they do not disclose where the bullion came from, according to taxmen.
In order to encourage the formal import of gold, the NBR has cut the duty on the metal under the baggage rule. A traveller will be able to bring 234 grams of gold bars or bullions upon payment of Tk 2,000 for each 11.664 grams (one bhori or tola) from fiscal 2019-20, down from Tk 3,000 at present.