The Regional Revenue and Customs Office (RRCO) in Phuentsholing has been fining people for late payment of Bhutan Sales Tax (BST). Phuentsholing went into lockdown from 17 January till 28 February. The deadline for payment of the taxes during the lockdown was on 6 February in Phuentsholing.
“Even if a person is late in filing their taxes, even by one day, the fines shall be imposed. There will be interest for late payment as well. As for why the BST was not deferred, I cannot tell you that at the moment since there are many categories of fines imposed for taxes and lakhs of data to go through or compile. To give a specific answer, it will at least take one week to compile the data,” said a RRCO Phuentsholing official to the paper.
He said that 14 March the Department of Revenue and Customs gave extensions till 30 April 2022 for PIT and 31 May 2022 for BIT and CIT only and not other types of taxes.
An anonymous source alleged that people were fined even when they paid their BST right after the lockdown lifted.
The source said firstly when the government has given extension for PIT, BIT and CIT there should be some room for BST too.
Secondly, he said how can fines be imposed during a lockdown and when companies cannot access their files in office.
The RRCO official said since there is the digital or online method of paying the taxes like BST, there is no deferral for BST even during the lockdown.
“The payment of BST shouldn’t have been an issue during the lockdown, considering there is online system of payment, like Direct Pay, mBoB pay etc. These days we can pay all kinds of bills online,” he said.
He said there many types of taxes and the deadline is different for each of them, for import the tax should be paid on the same day, for sales tax it is usually after 40 days or a month, for PIT also it’s different and also for third country.
“There were people who were unable to pay the taxes during the lockdown and they have been fined, especially companies had difficulty in paying the taxes during the lockdown since their mBoB facility broke down or crashed, and they could not pay on time resulting in penalties, which might explain their voicing their grievances to media houses such as yours,” explained the official.
According to him, the RRCO had made it clear that any failure in payment of taxes other than PIT, BIT and CIT within the stipulated deadline would result in penalties.
*Errors in the hardcopy version have been corrected here.