Complexity in any area of law leads to specialization. But it also carries the risk of having a narrow view, of not seeing the big picture. Some of the most extraordinary writings in the legal field combine an in-depth understanding of an area of law with an analysis of broader issues related to and associated with those areas. In this direction, Corporate tax law and practicewritten by Junayed A. Chowdhury, Barrister (Lincoln’s Inn) and Advocate to the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, and published by University Press Limited, is an excellent example of such an extraordinary article.
The 15 chapters of the book can be divided into four essential parts. The first part concisely highlights the basic concepts of taxation in Bangladesh and the Income Tax Ordinance 1984. The following part explains in detail concepts such as total income, calculation, aggregation, offsetting and carrying forward losses, expenses and exemptions, tax deductions. and withheld at source. The third part deals with the taxation of corporate and financial transactions, such as mergers and amalgamations, borrowing and fundraising, etc. The fourth and final part deals with tax administration, such as filing and assessment.
The analytical architecture of the book has three dimensions. First, the author explains the relevant provisions of the Ordinance from a practical point of view with lucid commentary, hypothetical examples and calculations, and extremely useful flow charts, such as those seen in Chapter 15. Second, the book contains a critical analysis of various issues of the Ordinance. , particularly where provisions are unclear or inconsistent with global standards. In this regard, the author’s criticisms are direct and unreserved. For example, in the analysis of the new article 16F of the Ordinance on the taxation of stock dividends in chapter 4, the author brilliantly explains the legal distinction between two interchangeable notions of “dividend shares” and ” bonus shares”, and the likely consequences of such a distinction. The author also makes useful recommendations on areas where the ordinance does not contain tax provisions dealing with particular situations or transactions in Bangladesh.
Thirdly, the author incorporates comprehensive documents and case law from the courts and tribunals of Bangladesh and offers a comparative analysis of those containing provisions and decisions from different jurisdictions including Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan , Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States. The author has skilfully compared the relevant provisions of the Ordinance with international treaties and documents, including Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) signed by Bangladesh with other countries and Bangladesh’s Model Tax Convention. OECD. The international dimension of the book also addresses the impact of Covid-19 on the question of a person’s stay within the framework of the Ordinance and the DTAAs.
Since the early days of my legal career, I have felt that there is a shortage of quality law books written by Bangladeshi lawyers. There are few law books which, like those written by the late Mahmudul Islam, former Attorney General of Bangladesh, Senior Advocate, have shown exceptional qualities. Junayed A. Chowdhury, who grew up and excelled in Bangladesh as a remarkable jurist and lawyer, broke from this sad situation and offered us our own source of high quality legal texts, in which we, as fellow practitioners of the right, can take immense pride. I am hopeful that these scholarly works will also inspire the next generation of lawyers to write books, of this breadth and quality, on different areas of law, which will ultimately lead to the enrichment of legal jurisprudence in Bangladesh. .
Lawyer ASA Bari is a Managing Partner, Solicitor AS & Associates, Advocate at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.