Saturday, July 13, 2024

NBR faces pressure against tax net spread

The National Board of Revenue will focus on expanding tax net in achieving revenue collection target to be fixed for the upcoming national budget for the 2013-2014 financial year instead of imposing new and additional tax, said NBR chairman Ghulam Hussain.
He, however, said that the revenue board was facing big problems in the process of tax net expansion in the wake of upcoming general elections.
‘We have taken several initiatives to expand tax net and increase tax collection. But election is the big problems for me as a tax collector,’ he said at a pre-budget discussion with the former members of the revenue board at its headquarters in the capital on Tuesday.
The revenue board has taken initiative to develop a database of the owners of houses and apartments, and business entities of the metropolitan areas, municipality, upazila and other growth centre in the country, Ghulam said.
As part of the move, house owners and business entities are asked if they have taxpayers’ identification numbers. The NBR will bring them under tax net if they do not have TINs, he said.
‘But problem is that, whatever we want to do so, we are asked [by aspirant candidates of general elections] not to go to taxpayers ahead of elections saying that it will put a negative impact on voters.’
Citing an example, the NBR chairman said that more than 150 parliament members requested the NBR not to increase tax on bidi.
According to an estimation made by the NBR, considering the size of the economy and middle-class people of the country, at least 60 lakh people should pay income tax while 5 lakh business entities should pay value-added tax, he said.
But, Ghulam said, only 13 lakh people paid income
tax and 60,000 business houses paid VAT in the last fiscal year.
It proves that there are huge gaps between actual taxpayers and people capable of paying tax and VAT, he added.
The NBR chairman said that there was no alternative except expanding tax net to achieve the revenue collection target of Tk 1,36,000 crore fixed by the government as no new or additional tax would not be imposed in the next budget.
‘This is the election year and obviously, the government will prepare an election-centric budget without imposing new tax as voters do not like additional burden of tax,’ he explained.
At the meeting, formers NBR members suggested that the revenue board should strengthen the appellate tribunals related to income tax, customs duties and value-added tax to ensure speed disposal of disputes and provide proper justice to taxpayers as it would ultimately increase revenue collection.
Thousands of disputes between the NBR and taxpayers have remained pending at the tribunals, they said.
Former NBR member (income tax) Aminur Rahman, Mashrur Ahmed, GM Rahman, Tayebur Rahman, Tofazzal Chowdhury, Helal Uddin Ahmed and Shah Alam Khan, among others, spoke at the meeting.

-With New Age input

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