Staff Reporter : The High Court on Wednesday ruled that tax imposition on the donated money by Nobel laureate Prof Dr Muhammad Yunus to three trusts is justified. The High Court Bench of Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar and Justice Sardar Md Rashed Jahangir delivered the verdict, dismissing three applications filed by Prof Yunus challenging the tax liability on the money donated by him.
The HC Bench also said, the Deputy Commissioner of Taxes (DCT) of Taxes Zone-6 in Dhaka didn’t commit any illegality by imposing ‘gift tax’ on the donated money. According to the case documents, Prof Yunus donated Tk 767.33 million to three trusts namely ‘Professor Muhammad Yunus Trust’, ‘Yunus Family Trust’ and ‘Yunus Centre’.
Later, the Deputy Commissioner of Taxes (DCT) of Taxes Zone-6 in Dhaka imposed a ‘gift tax’ on the donated money for the assessment years 2011-2012 to 2013-2014 which amount to Tk 153.91 million. Prof Yunus then filed appeal petitions against the tax imposition on the donated money. However, the Tax Appellate Tribunal upheld the decision of the DCT. Then he moved the High Court. Upon hearing his applications, the High Court bench of Justice AFM Abdur Rahman and Justice Md Shohrowardy on April 2 in 2015 stayed the operation of the notifications issued for realising the demanded tax.
Recently, the Attorney General Office took an initiative for holding hearing on the petitions. Then the High Court Bench of Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar and Justice Sardar Md Rashed Jahangir held the hearing on the petitions and fixed May 31 for delivering verdict. Barrister Mustafizur Rahman Khan appeared in the court hearing on behalf of Prof Yunus, while Attorney General AM Amin Uddin represented the state. In a briefing, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin said, “If the money that Prof Yunus donated to three trusts, established in his name, was kept in his own bank account, then he would have to pay income tax on that money. He may have donated the money to the trusts to get tax exemption.”
The DCT found that Prof Yunus’ gift was subject to tax under the Gift Tax ACt, 1990. Prof Yunus raised questions in the High Court whether the Tax Appellate Tribunal’s decision that upheld the tax imposition was correct or not? Upon hearing, the High Court justified the decision of taxation and dismissed Prof Yunus’ applications.” Barrister Mustafizur Rahman Khan said, they will take further initiatives on the matter after getting the full text of the verdict. In the meantime, Prof Yunus has paid Tk 36.17 million to the NBR. Now he will have to pay remaining Tk 117.74 million, according to the NBR documents.