FT Online

Published:
2019-07-07 11:44:59 BdST

NBR chief bullish even as tax collection falters


The National Board of Revenue (NBR) chief on Saturday said the country's overall economic activities are good enough to help achieve the tax revenue collection target set by the government.

He listed the tendency of businesses to make excessive profit, collusion between corrupt businessmen and taxmen, and the maintenance of double books of accounts by companies as major reasons for the poor collection of taxes.

NBR chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan's comments came at a time when tax collection in the just-concluded fiscal year (FY) was the lowest in five years.

He said the trend of tax evasion is high in the country due to the motive of businesses to be rich within the shortest possible time.

He was the chief guest at a seminar on 'Finance Act, 2019 vis-à-vis national budget 2019-20 and new VAT policy and its implementation process,' organised by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries of Bangladesh (ICSB) in Dhaka.

The government has set a Tk 3.77 trillion target for internal revenue collection for the current Fiscal Year (FY).

Of the target, the NBR will have to collect Tk 3.25 trillion in revenue as income tax, VAT and customs duty.

"The target for revenue collection is around 40 per cent higher than that of the actual tax receipts this year," he said.

Still, it is 16 per cent higher than that of the revised target of Tk 2.80 trillion, the NBR chairman said.

He said the waiver of customs duty on the import of raw materials is higher in Bangladesh than many countries.

"We have offered the tax benefit and extended protection to facilitate the country's industrial growth," he added.

He said despite different obstacles, the government has started implementation of new VAT law from July 1, 2019.

"We've tried to make the new law rational. However, the NBR will hold talks with the businesses in case any problems that might arise during the implementation," he added.

About the VAT exemption limit of up to Tk 5.0 million for small businesses and tax enlistment for the businesses with up to Tk 30 million turnover, the NBR chairman said the board has instructed taxmen to observe the business activity so that enterprises cannot take any undue advantage of the ceiling.

He said VAT officials will have to be honest in discharging their duties properly rather than joining hands with the corrupt businesses.

On keeping the tax-free income limit for individuals unchanged, the NBR chairman said a number of taxpayers will be dropped out from the list in the case of any upward adjustment.

He said the NBR has set a target to increase the number of taxpayers to 10 million by 2021.

He said tax administration reform would be carried out to increase the tax collection.

By this fiscal, the NBR will hand over Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) to the enterprises to be connected with their business transaction.

He said it would not be a pleasant experience for businesses if the VAT officials seize their computers to find out accounts information.

For businesses having above Tk 50 million transactions, the NBR also made the procurement of software mandatory from some selected companies.

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