Prof Yunus’ Gift Tax issue

Professor Yunus receives very high fees for speaking at international conferences. At many places, audiences purchase tickets to hear him speak. Several books written by him have been translated into 25 languages around the world. His books have been included in the New York Times Best Seller list. He remits earnings from books, speeches and prizes back to Bangladesh through the formal banking channels. Professor Yunus has been paying his taxable income on a regular basis according to the assessment made by the authorities.From financial years 2011 to 2014, Professor Yunus donated almost his entire earnings – a total of Tk 77.42 crore – after paying all necessary taxes claimed by the Tax Authority of which Tk 72 crores to Muhammad Yunus Trust for charitable purposes, research and development, social development and
Tk 5 crores to Yunus Family Trust for family members’ welfare, and showed these donations in his income tax return. The Tax Authority accepted this up to 2013 and did not raise any question, and issued tax payment certificate accordingly. In May 2014, the National Board of Revenue sent a notice to Professor Muhammad Yunus to pay gift tax in the amount of
Tk 15.39 crore on the donations to the two trusts. Professor Yunus contested on the ground that this is not legally required, as the donation is tax free according to the Gift Tax law of 1990. Professor Yunus has appealed to the high court and the case is now sub-judice.
In the meanwhile, NBR has sent a notice dated 23 March asking Professor Yunus or his nominated representative to meet with Tax Commissioner on 29 March in respect of this gift tax issue which is currently in court. His representative will accordingly meet the Commissioner on that date. – Yunus Centre press release