Grameen Bank gets retrospective tax break at last

The National Board of Revenue has extended tax exemption benefits to Grameen Bank, clearing the Nobel Prize-winning organisation from the obligation to pay Tk 77.65 crore in tax.

The tax break, which came last week, was given retrospectively for a six-month period from January 1, 2011 to June 30, 2011.

The tax break means Grameen Bank will not have to pay the sum as tax for the six-month period, said a senior official of NBR, seeking to remain unnamed.

The decision comes two years after Grameen Bank had sought tax benefits from the government for the period, which was left out when the NBR had extended tax waiver benefit to the bank with a retrospective effect from July 1 to December 31 of 2011.

Grameen Bank had enjoyed tax exemption from its inception in 1983.

But due to a stand-off between the government and its founder Muhammad Yunus, the government had delayed the decision on whether it would extend the tax-free facility after the privilege had expired in December 2010.

As a result, the microfinance pioneer had to pay tax for this six-month period to comply with rules.

The bank had paid Tk 21.5 crore to the state coffer against NBR’s tax claim of Tk 77.65 crore.

The NBR official said money that Grameen Bank had deposited might be adjusted with taxes if the authority does not extend the benefit after December 31 this year.

He said the decision on further extension of the tax break is yet to be taken.

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