NOAB calls for reduction in corporation tax for newspapers

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The Newspaper Owners Association of Bangladesh (NOAB) on Sunday proposed a cut in corporate tax on newspapers from 30% to 10-15%, given the sector’s declining financial health.

NOAB has also proposed to remove the existing 15 percent VAT on imports of newsprint by newspapers or at least reduce it to 5.0 percent, given the recent price hike of the item on the International market.

The proposals were presented at a National Revenue Board (NBR) pre-budget meeting with NOAB and the Association of Television Station Owners (ATCO) at the NBR conference room in the city’s Segunbagicha district. .

Chaired by NBR President Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, the program was addressed by NOAB President AK Azad, ATCO Vice President Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, NOAB Members Mahfuz Anam and Dewan Hanif Mahmud and NBR members Md Masud Sadiq, Zakia Sultana and Md Shamsuddin. Ahmad.

Presenting the budget proposals, Mr. Azad said that the newspaper industry has long been facing various challenges due to the transformation of media from print to digital, while advertising revenues have dropped significantly during the pandemic.

Mentioning that the price of newsprint on the world market has risen from 570 US dollars to 890 US dollars per ton, he said: “In view of the increase in the prices of the key material in the sector, we propose to exempt the VAT of 15 % existing on the import of newsprint or at least reduce it to 5.0 percent.”

“Despite a significant drop in advertising revenue due to the pandemic, the newspaper industry has not received any government support.”

The NOAB chairman noted that the sector had seen a huge drop of 55% due to the pandemic.

Proposing a reduction in corporate tax on newspapers, Azad noted that although the sector does not generate much profit, it pays corporate tax like many other profitable businesses.

“The newspaper industry pays 30% corporate tax, which should not exceed 10-15%.”

In addition, he proposed to reduce the withholding tax (TDS) on advertising revenue from 4.0% to 2.0% and to abolish the withholding tax on income (AIT) from 5, 0% existing on raw materials.

Meanwhile, Mahfuz Anam said that print and electronic media provide a kind of social service to society, so the sector should be considered for different types of tax exemption.

He also asked the NBR to exempt newspapers from paying income tax on their workers, as no other industry does.

Responding to this proposal, the president of the NBR said that newspapers pay income tax on their workers according to the rules of the wages commission of the sector. The NBR has nothing to do with this, as the matter is outside its jurisdiction.

He added: “It is true that news organizations do not generate so much profit. Considering the sector as a special sector, the NBR will consider whether its corporate tax can be reduced or not.”

Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury said electronic media pays VAT on its advertising revenue, which was previously paid at source.

“We usually receive advertising through agencies or directly from companies. VAT should therefore be carried out by them – as part of the reduction of the tax burden on the media.”

Mr. Chowdhury also proposed zero-rating set-top boxes to speed up the digitization of cable television networks.

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