VAT Agent for Non-residents in Bangladesh

Barrister Khandoker M. S. Kawsar

According to section 2(1), a “non-resident” means a person who is not a resident of Bangladesh. Non-resident Bangalis can export goods to thousands of recipients in Bangladesh, or thousands of importers of Bangladesh can import goods from a non-national Bangali. It is very difficult to identify the non-national supplier or all the transactions thereof for the purpose of VAT. For that reason, the NBR has made a policy by which a non-resident, who does not carry on economic activity from a fixed place in Bangladesh, can be identified for the same purpose. For their identification of transactions, the NBR has mandated the non-residents, who do not carry on economic activities from fixed places in Bangladesh, shall appoint VAT Agents in accordance with Section.19 of the VAT & SD Act. What is the extent of responsibilities of a VAT Agent? the answer would be found below-

Responsibilities and activities of a VAT Agent
VAT Agent shall bear all responsibilities and carry out all activities of the non-resident. The VAT Agent shall be like a trustee of all the responsibilities and activities of the non-residents, where the non-residents are the beneficiaries. Therefore, The VAT registration of the economic activities by a VAT Agent shall be in the name of the principal. Besides, the NBR may prescribe the manner, conditions of the responsibilities of a VAT Agent.

Liability of payment of all dues
VAT Agent shall be jointly and severally liable for the payment of all dues, including taxes, fines, penalties, and interests that may be imposed.

Manner and conditions of appointment of a VAT Agent
The manner and conditions of appointment of a VAT Agent are prescribed in Rule 16 and 17 of the VAT & SD Rules, 2016.

Appointment of VAT Agent
Rule 16 states that a person with requisite qualifications can apply for VAT Agent Certificate. After obtaining that Certificate, this Agent shall have to be registered under Section 6 or enlisted under Section 10 of the VAT & SD Act, 2012.

Who can apply to be appointed as VAT agent
The following persons can apply to be appointed as VAT agent:

  • VAT Consultant appointed under Section 130;
  • Chartered Accountant or Accountant registered as members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB);
  • Accountant registered as a member of Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB);
  • Any lawyer registered as a member of the Bangladesh Bar Council;
  • Any retired official of the Value Added Tax Department, not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner; or
  • Specialist business representative of the private sector nominated by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI).

The procedure of application and renewal of VAT Agent Certificate:
Any person having prerequisite qualification to be a VAT Agent, have to apply to the Director General, Customs, Excise and VAT Training Academy through online in the “VAT-3.1” form for being appointed as VAT Agent. The Director General, Customs, Excise and VAT Training Academy, following verification of the application received under Sub-Rule (1), if found to be appropriate, shall issue a renewable “VAT Agent Certificate” in the form “VAT-3.2” with a unique number effective for a period of 3 (three) years. Minimum of 3 (three) months before the expiry of the period mentioned in Sub-Rule(4), application for renewal has to be filed in the form “Mushak-3.1” to the Director General, Customs, Excise and VAT Training Academy, and the Director General shall issue a “VAT Agent Certificate” in the form “VAT-3.2” renewing it in the same manner for a period of 3 (three) years.

In case of change of information of any VAT agent:
If there is any change of information in relation to any VAT agent who has received the Certificate, he shall inform the Director General, Customs, Excise and VAT Training Academy within 15 (fifteen) days of the change of information in form “VAT- 3.3” through online or in writing.

Cancellation of Certificate of a VAT Agent:
The Certificate of a VAT Agent shall be cancelled, if he does not perform what is required under the Act or does what is not to be done; or if any membership or registration is cancelled or if the tenure of such expires as described in Sub-Rule (2).

Nomination of VAT Agent by the non-resident:
Under Rule 17, any non-resident person shall nominate VAT Agent under the Act for performing any work with the VAT authorities on his behalf. To fulfil the purposes of nomination, the non-resident person shall furnish to the Commissioner the information through online in the form “VAT-3.4” of nominating the concerned VAT agent. Following receipt of information from the office of the Commissioner, the VAT system shall send notice automatically to the Agent with the purpose of according consent to his nomination. His nomination shall become effective if he accords his consent through online to work as a VAT Agent on the basis of said notice.

Null and void of the nomination of the Agent:
The nomination of the Agent shall be null and void, if the non-resident person or the Agent cancels the nomination; the Agent number of the VAT Agent is cancelled; the conduct of economic activities of the non-resident person comes to an end; or the VAT Agent commits any offence under the Act or the Rules.

How Equity Suites can help non-residents:
Equity Suites being one of the best Law firms in Bangladesh relating to Fiscal Law issues and one of our consultants being a Registered VAT Agent (Mr Mostafa Kamal Ahmed, email:, and mobile number: +88 01711 505 244), we can provide full support to any non-resident in Bangladesh.


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