Two restaurants owned by SR Group have evaded value-added tax of more than Tk 18 crore by concealing sales records of Tk 200 crore, the VAT Intelligence Directorate said in a statement yesterday.
The VAT Intelligence Directorate, an office under the National Board of Revenue, uncovered the tax-dodging after it went through commercial records and documents it seized during a raid at the group’s head office in the capital’s Nikunja 1 last week.
The VAT detectives uncovered that SR Group is evading a huge amount of VAT by hiding the actual sales of the two restaurants: Food Village Ltd located on the Dhaka-Rangpur highway in Bogura’s Sherpur and Food Village Plus, which is located on the same highway in Hatikumrul in Sirajganj.
Food Village Plus reported sales of Tk 23.1 crore from February 2017 to July 2020 and it paid Tk 2.52 crore in VAT against the sales, according to the Sirajganj VAT Circle.
But the documents showed that the actual sales were Tk 123.30 crore. This meant Food Village Plus has evaded a VAT of Tk 9.44 crore.
The company reported its sales at Food Village were Tk 23.88 crore from February 2017 to June 2020 and it paid Tk 2.51 crore in VAT against the transactions. However, the VAT detectives uncovered that the actual sales were Tk 122.22 crore.
It dodged Tk 8.93 crore in VAT. It would have to pay another Tk 3.99 crore in interest.
The government has been deprived of VAT of Tk 26.43 crore from these two restaurants as sales information of around Tk 200 crore was concealed in a dishonest way, Moinul Khan, director-general of the VAT Intelligence, told The Daily Star yesterday.
“They are collecting this money from the people, saying that they will deposit it to the government. It is a kind of embezzlement of the people’s money.”
VAT detectives also seized the records of the group’s The Great Kabab Factory, Sung Food Garden and SR Travel during the raid, which was led by deputy directors Nazmunnahar Kaiser and Ferdousi Mahbub.
“Our sales are not that much the VAT Intelligence is saying,” said Asaduzzaman, group general manager at SR Group.
He said if the authorities can present evidences during hearing in favour of the sales claimed, the group will pay VAT accordingly.
“But if it is said before hearing that we evaded VAT, it tarnishes our image,” he said.