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IMF starts reviewing NBR’s reform initiatives

FE Report | March 12, 2019 00:00:00

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) technical assistance mission started on Monday reviewing the reform initiatives of the revenue board to extend its support after analysing needs.

The mission will hold meetings with the finance ministry, National Board of Revenue (NBR), customs, VAT and income tax wings to assess expansion, modernisation and initiatives to create skilled manpower.

Revenue collection performances of the NBR, revenue loss through exemptions, revenue leakage, major areas of risk and measures to tackle challenges on revenue mobilisation will come up for discussion in the two-week long meetings.

However, the mission will also hold discussion with the business representatives to know their experience on NBR's efficiency and operation.

On Monday, the mission held its first meeting with finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.

Officials who attended the meeting said the finance minister assured the IMF mission of implementing the long-delayed new VAT law from July 01, 2019.

He also said there will be multiple rates of VAT instead of a single rate, no VAT on essential products and mandatory installation of Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) for ensuring recorded transactions.

Besides, the mission held meeting with VAT and income tax wings where members and other senior officials of the respective wings were present, they said.

In the meeting, the NBR presented an overview of its current reform strategies and priorities in the income tax and VAT measures, progress of new VAT law implementation and its challenges, they added.

The mission will hold discussion on reform status of income tax and VAT wings, requirements to register as taxpayers, registration procedure, process of scrutiny prior to registration, taxpayers' registry status, deregistration, monitoring and follow-up of non-filers.

The IMF team will also review the existing assessment procedure of income tax and its monitoring status, officials said.

On import procedures, the mission will review the control process and formalities, declaration of goods, data requirements and processing information, control steps and linkage in processes, release of goods, clearance of goods, collection of customs debt and duties and taxes, according to the meeting topics.

Trade policy measures including customs tariffs and classification, valuation, preferential trade agreements, and rules of origin will come up for discussion in the meeting.

Special regimes and export controls mechanism of the customs authority such as warehousing, special economic/free zones, transit, transhipment, inward/outward processing, and export procedures will be discussed in a meeting.

VAT refund and drawback claiming procedures, refund processing and verification of claims, intelligence and risk management, systems of financial and physical guarantees, forms of bank guarantees will be discussed with the central risk management unit and customs officials.

Issues relating to post-clearance audit of customs, audit management by income tax wing, customs legislation, arrears and IT management of three wings, selection for physical checks in customs point, systems of penalties and sanctions, settlement of disputes, human resource management, organisational structure and coordination may come under review.

The mission will visit the Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) under income tax and VAT wings. The two units are the brainchild of IMF formed in 2001 and 2003. The mission will also visit Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Cargo customs operations and Chattogram customs operation.

In addition, the mission will discuss NBR's budget management, investment, allocation and prioritisation.

On the wrap-up meeting, the mission will present its draft report (aide-memoire of the mission), its findings and recommendations.

Meanwhile, the finance ministry in a statement said IMF mission chief Aksel Sorensen, senior economist (FED), pledged to put forward necessary recommendations for reform of the revenue administration, automation and suggest possible ways for direct and indirect tax mobilisation.


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