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NBR to freeze luxury hotel bank accounts for tax evasion

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FT ONLINE

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) will freeze the bank accounts of four luxury hotels if they fail to pay a total of around Tk54 crore in taxes.

The hotels – Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Sheraton (currently InterContinental), The Westin and Radisson Blu Water Garden – did not pay taxes from January 2005 to February 2009, thus evading Tk54 crore in total.

Pan Pacific Sonargaon evaded Tk20.75 crore, Sheraton Tk18.84 crore, The Westin Tk7.13 crore and Radisson Blu Water Garden Tk6.92 crore.

NBR’s Large-Taxpayers Unit for Value-added Tax (LTU-VAT) had earlier issued a demand note to hotels, but they had lodged separate writ petitions with the High Court (HC) against the notices.

The HC gave a verdict against the hotels which was later upheld in the Appellate Division.

After winning the legal battle, the LTU-VAT served notice to the hoteliers on August 28, asking them to pay the dodged amount immediately, but to no avail.

The LTU-VAT will serve the hotel authorities with a second notice today, asking them to make the payment within the next seven days, or have their bank accounts frozen, said NBR officials.

LTU VAT Commissioner Md Matiur Rahman said: “We served a notice to the hotels, but they did not respond. We will sending them the second letter.”

“If they do not pay the amount within seven days of the issuance of the second notice, we will freeze their bank accounts,” he added.

The notice added that a hotel has to pay 10% Supplementary Duty (SD) on supply of alcoholic beverages along with accommodation and food, and organising any kind of show as per a statutory regulatory order of (SRO) of the revenue board, which they also did not pay.

Terming it a sub judice matter, the authorities of the four hotels denied to make any comment. However, they said they will take legal steps after getting the notice.

-SAM

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