SC scraps writ petitions lodged by Worldlink

The decision has paved way for the government to recover unpaid taxes from ISPs

Himal Press 12 May 2024
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SC scraps writ petitions lodged by Worldlink

KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court has scrapped all eight writ petitions filed by Internet service provider (ISP) WorldLink Communications Ltd, paving the way for the government to recover outstanding tax dues from the company and other ISPs.

A division bench of Justices Hari Prasad Phuyal and Dr. Nahakul Subedi quashed all the petitions filed by WorldLink which had been challenging the government’s move to levy taxes on maintenance fees charged to consumers.

While the government had provided a one-year reprieve for ISPs earlier, WorldLink and others had been insisting that the exemption should continue. However, the government maintained that ISPs are required to pay taxes on maintenance fees as per the existing laws.

WorldLink had filed its first writ petition four years ago after the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology instructed government agencies to recover outstanding tax dues from ISPs.

To put pressure on ISPs to clear their dues, the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) even denied them recommendations for foreign exchange payments, which even led to an Internet blackout across the country for a day after upstream providers cut supplies citing delay in release of payments.

The apex court’s decision means WorldLink will now have to pay nearly Rs 2 billion to the government in outstanding taxes. Other ISPs also owe significant amounts in unpaid taxes to the government.

Published On: 12 May 2024

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