Bangladesh’s National Board of Revenue (NBR) has announced a cut in value added tax (VAT) on 3G mobile spectrum fees from 7.5% to 5% following negotiations with network operators who have threatened to boycott the upcoming 3G licence auction unless all pending tax related issues are resolved. Although stopping short of cutting the VAT on 3G spectrum fees to as low as a proposed 2.5% rate, the latest move is seen as a further attempt to appease the operators, following the recent waiving of VAT on regulatory fees which was previously written into the 3G licensing terms. According to the latest published schedule, the deadline for filing 3G licence bidding applications is today (12 August 2013), with the auction set to take place on 8 September. However, there is a pending dispute over a previous demand by the NBR for BDT30.18 billion (USD388 million) in unpaid VAT on replacement SIM cards from GrameenPhone (BDT15.80 billion), Banglalink (BDT7.74 billion) and Robi Axiata (BDT6.64 billion), although a special committee is working to resolve the issue.
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