163. Statements, returns, etc. to be confidential.-
(1) Save as provided in this section, all particulars or information contained in the following shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed, namely:-
(a) any statement made, return furnished or accounts or documents produced under the provisions of this Ordinance;
(b) any evidence given, or affidavit or deposition made, in the course of any proceedings under this Ordinance other than proceedings under Chapter XXI ;
(c) any record of any assessment proceedings or any proceeding relating to the recovery of demand under this Ordinance.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Evidence Act, 1872 (I of 1872) or any other law for the time being in force, no Court or other authority shall, save as provided in this Ordinance, be competent to require any public servant to produce before it any return, accounts or documents contained in, or forming a part of, the records relating to any proceeding under this Ordinance or to give evidence before it in respect thereof.
(3) The prohibition under sub-section (1) shall not apply to the disclosure of-
(a) any particulars, or in respect of any statement, return, accounts, documents, evidence, affidavit or deposition required for the purposes of prosecution of an offence under this Ordinance, the Penal Code (XLV of 1860), or the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 (VII of 1947);
(b) any particulars or information which is necessary for the purposes of this Ordinance to any person acting in the execution of this Ordinance, or of any particulars to any person being an expert whose services have been placed at the disposal of the Government by any international organisation of which Bangladesh is a member;
(c) any particulars or information which is occasioned by the lawful employment under this Ordinance of any process for the service of any notice or the recovery of any demand;
(d) any particulars of the amount due from an assessee under this Ordinance by the Board or any officer authorised by it, or by the Commissioner, to any department of the Government, local authority, bank, corporation or other organization for the purpose of the recovery of any demand;
(e) any particulars to a Civil Court in any suit which relates to any matter arising out of any proceeding under this Ordinance and to which Government is a party;
(f) any particulars to the Comptroller and Auditor-General of Bangladesh for the purpose of enabling him to discharge his functions under the Constitution;
(g) any particulars to any officer appointed by the Comptroller and Auditor- General of Bangladesh or the Board for the purpose of auditing tax receipts or refunds;
(h) any particulars relevant to any inquiry into the conduct of any official of the income tax department to any person appointed to hold such inquiry or to a Public Service Commission established under the Constitution when exercising its functions in relation to any matter arising out of any such inquiry;
(i) any particulars relevant to any inquiry into a charge of misconduct in connection with income tax proceedings against a lawyer, a chartered accountant or a cost and management accountant to any authority empowered to take disciplinary action against such lawyer, chartered accountant or cost and management accountant;
(j) any particulars by a public servant where the disclosure is occasioned by the lawful exercise by him of the powers under the Stamp Act, 1899 (II of 1899), to impound an insufficiently stamped document;
(k) any facts to an authorised officer of the Government of any country outside Bangladesh with which the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh has entered into an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion where such disclosure is required under the terms of the agreement;
(l) any such facts to any officer to the Government as may be necessary for the purpose of enabling the Government to levy or realise any tax imposed by it;
1[(m) any such facts to any authority exercising power under the Excise and Salt Act, 1944 (I of 1944), the Gift-tax Act, 1963 (XIV of 1963), দানকর আইন 1990 (১৯৯০ সনের ২২ নং আইন, the Wealth-tax Act, 1963 (XV of 1963), the Customs Act, 1969 (IV of 1969), the Sales tax Ordinance, 1982, (XVIII of 1982) 2[,মূল্য সংয়োজন কর আইন, ১৯৯১(১৯৯১সনের ২২ নং আইন ) or মূল্য সংয়োজন কর ও সম্পরূক শুল্ক আইন, ২০১২ (২০১২ সনের ৪৭নং আইন)] as may be necessary for the purpose of enabling it duly to exercise such powers;]
(n) so much of any such particulars, to the appropriate authority as may be necessary to establish whether a person has or has not been assessed to income tax in any particular year or years, where, under the provisions of any law for the time being in force, such fact is required to be established;
(o) any such particulars to the Bangladesh Bank as are required by that Bank to enable it to discharge its functions under the foreign exchange control laws or to compile financial statistics of international investments and balance of payments;
(p) any such information as may be required by any officer or department of the Government for the purpose of investigation into the conduct and affairs of a public servant;
3[(PP)any such information as may be required for the purpose of investigation relating to money laundering and terrorist financing if the information is requested by the authority responsible for giving approval to a prosecution relating to money laundering and terrorist financing;]
(q) any such particulars as may be required by any order made under section 19(2) of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 (VII of 1947) 4[; or
(r) a list of highest tax-payers in accordance with rules made in this behalf ] 5[;
(s) the particulars of any assessee mentioned in the certificate issued under section 184B to any person or authority mentioned in subsection (1) of section 184A for the purpose of verifying the authenticity of the twelve-digit Taxpayer‘s Identification Number (TIN).]
(4) Nothing in this section shall apply to the production by a public servant before a Court of any document, declaration or affidavit filed, or the record of any statement or deposition made in a proceeding under section 90 or 111, or to the giving of evidence by a public servant in respect thereof.
(5) Any person to whom any information is communicated under this section, and any person or employee under his control, shall in respect of that information, be subject to the same rights, privileges, obligations and
liabilities as if he were a public servant and all the provisions of this Ordinance shall, so far as may be, apply accordingly.
(6) This section shall not be construed as prohibiting the voluntary disclosure of any particulars referred to in sub-section (1) by the person by whom the statement was made, return furnished, accounts or documents produced,evidence given or affidavit or deposition made, as the case may be.
1Subs. by F.A. 1999
2Added by F.A. 2017
3Added by F.A. 2016
4Ins. by F.A. 1994
5Ins. by F.A. 2014
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