The government is likely to scrap the proposed supplementary duty on cell phone uses and reduce fees for filing value added tax-related dispute cases as the finance bill 2020 is scheduled to be passed in the Jatiya Sangsad today.

Finance ministry officials said that the 5 per cent higher tax on mobile phone talk time, internet and other services proposed by finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal while announcing the national budget on June 11 was likely to be withdrawn.

The finance minister, in the 2020–21 fiscal year budget, proposed to increase the supplementary duty on mobile talk time, internet and other services by 5 per cent to 15 per cent from the previous 10 per cent.

The hike already came into effect on June 11, the day of budget announcement.

There has been widespread criticism that the government is imposing higher tax on people amid income losses due to the COVID-19-induced economic disruption.

The officials said that the National Board of Revenue might retain the previous 10 per cent fee instead of the proposed 20 per cent for filing cases over VAT-related disputes amid pressure from the businessmen.

They also said that the NBR might also retain the same facility for adjusting the input tax credit or claim rebate against the VAT paid on inputs discarding proposal for changes in the VAT and Supplementary Duty Act 2012.

They said that the provisions for legalising untaxed money and imposing higher tax on car users, two most talked-about proposals in the COVID-19 time national budget, would remain unchanged.

The Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry has already opposed the provision for legalising untaxed money by paying only 10 per cent tax as it would seriously discourage the compliant taxpayers.

The proposal for increasing 10 to 15 per cent supplementary duties on the fees charged for services provided by the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority for cars has irked the car users amid the falling income due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Unlike previous years, there has been almost no budget discussion in the current JS session on the budget.

According to the schedule, there will be a brief discussion on the finance bill 2020 in the JS between 10.30am and 1.30pm.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to take part in the discussion.

On Tuesday, the 2020-21 fiscal year budget is expected to be passed in parliament.

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