Syed Nasir Hossain: The socially dominant use legal firearms for personal protection. At present, the number of legal weapons in the country is about 50,000. Among the users are more than 29,000 traders. Other professions and politicians have 20,430 legal arms.
It is known that the number of licensed firearms users in the country is increasing day by day. As the number of legal gun users increases, so do not match. Many of them have discrepancies in the income and assets shown in their income tax files. Many people are evading large amounts of tax through various strategies. Several such complaints have come to the intelligence department of NBR. Keeping these allegations in mind, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has decided to scrutinize the income tax documents of the taxpayers who have obtained arms licences. As a part of which, the tax survey and inspection department of the organization has sought information on returns of taxpayers with valid firearms licenses from all tax zones of the country. A letter has been sent to provide information in tabular form in excel format through e-mail and post. Where the license holder has been instructed to attach proof of income tax return or acknowledgment of receipt (PSR) of return filing from July 1, 2022.
In this regard, a senior official of NBR told without revealing his name, according to the information received from the special department of the police, the number of legal weapons in the country is 50,310. Many of them renew their licenses with minimum taxes. As per the Income Tax Act, there is an obligation to verify the proof of return filing or PSR in obtaining and renewing the license. Because of this, many people are filing returns just to maintain their license. NBR will verify relevant documents including their occupation, source of income, bank account and asset statement.
According to the Special Branch (SB) of Police, the number of legal arms across the country is 50,310 as of September 2022. Among them, 45,226 personal weapons. The weapons include 4,683 pistols, 2,43 revolvers, 20,809 single-barreled guns, 10,719 double-barreled guns, 5,444 shotguns, 1,706 rifles, and 4,06 other firearms. The rest of the arms are licensed under the names of various financial and other institutions.
According to the estimates, 10,215 of these weapons are with the politicians. Awami League activists have 7,215 firearms. BNP activists have 2,587 and 79 legal firearms in the name of people involved in politics of other parties.
According to NBR sources, letters have been sent to the commissioners of all tax zones in the country in the first phase on December 12 and in the second phase on January 4, including Dhaka-Chittagong. According to the letter signed by the second secretary of NBR’s survey, tax evasion and ITP registration department, as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act 2023 and Finance Act 2022, the license holder shall file his income tax return every year in case of obtaining and maintaining a firearms license from the office of the Deputy Commissioner. Submission of proof (PSR) is mandatory. Therefore, in obtaining and maintaining a firearm license, the concerned licensee must ensure proper compliance with the Income Tax Act, filing of E-TIN, filing of Income Tax Return and payment of Income Tax as per the filed Income Tax Return. The person receiving the firearms is requested to send the e-mail and hard copy to the NBR as per the attached table regarding confirmation of income tax return filing.
According to the Firearms License Issuance, Renewal and Use Policy, 2016, the individual (Bangladeshi citizen) must be an ‘individual class’ income tax payer to obtain a firearms license at the individual level. The applicant has to pay income tax of minimum three lakhs in case of pistol, revolver, rifle and minimum one lakh in case of shotgun for three consecutive years preceding the application. The certificate issued by NBR stating the amount of income tax paid by the applicant should be submitted along with the application.
Expatriate Bangladeshis or Bangladeshi dual nationals must have evidence of remittance and foreign income tax payment of at least Tk 12 lakh per year for the last three consecutive years as eligibility to apply for firearms license. The remittance money has to be submitted only through the government or private banks which have sent the bank certificate.
On the other hand, the minimum paid-up capital of the organization should be Tk 10 crores to take up firearms at the organization level. According to the policy, it means any public or autonomous organization and any private organization with a minimum paid-up capital of Tk 10 crore.
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