CNI Desk: Three ordinances, promulgated between the 7th and 8th sessions of the 11th Parliament, were placed in Parliament on Wednesday to comply with the Constitution.These Ordinances are — Adalat Kartik Tathiya Projukti Bebohar Oidhyadesh 2020, Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 and Income-Tax (Amendment) Ordinance 2020.

Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq placed the Ordinances in the House.They were approved by the Cabinet on May 7 and later the President promulgated the Ordinances.

Through the ‘Adalat Kartik Tathiya Projukti Bebohar Oidhyadesh,’ courts of the country were able to run trial proceedings through videoconferences and other digital means.

According to the previous law, the trial proceedings are run in the physical presence of judges, counsels and witnesses in the court.

This ordinance made it possible to run the proceedings during the COVID-19 period when social distancing is a must.

It was possible for the judges to run the trial proceedings through videoconferences and other digital means keeping the accused in jails, the lawyers in their residences and the witnesses in other places during the coronavirus crisis.

According to the ‘Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty (Amendment) Ordinance 2020’ and ‘Income-Tax (Amendment) Ordinance 2020’, penalty and interest can be exempted in the case of failure to submit the VAT return and pay income tax within the stipulated time during a crisis like coronavirus.Besides, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) also can extend the timeframe for submission of the VAT return and payment of taxes. In this case, the tax officials can also be exonerated from the liability of making loss of revenue by not taking legal actions against tax defaulters.

As per the previous law, the monthly VAT return needs to be filed within the 15 days of the next month. It needs to count penalty (Tk 10,000) and interest in case of failure as per the existing law.

But most business outlets have remained closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it is not possible for them to file the VAT return in time.

Besides, business organisations including FBCCI requested for extension of timeframe for submission of the VAT return.

In this context, the proposal was made to incorporate a new provision in article 64 of the existing Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty (Amendment) Act, 2012.

According to the proposed provision, the NBR can extend time for submission of VAT return with a provision of not paying penalty and interest during any natural disaster, pandemic and emergency situation.

As per the Income-Tax (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, the proposed ordinance was promulgated aiming to exempt taxpayers from penalty and interest as well as exonerate the tax officials from liability of making the loss of revenue as all the official activities of the income-tax department have remained suspended since March 26 and the taxpayers failed to pay taxes in time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So, the proposal was made to incorporate a new provision in article 184 of the existing Income-Tax Ordinance 1984 with a view to exempting the penalty, interest and liability during the evolving crisis caused by coronavirus, other epidemic and pandemic, war, and any natural disasters.

The ordinances were promulgated as Parliament was not in session at that time. As per the rules, the ordinances were placed in Parliament at the first day of the session for its approval.