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Steps to raise revenue collection

NBR mulls advance appraisal of returns

FE Report | March 15, 2018 00:00:00

The income tax authority has planned to launch a set of measures, including advance or provisional assessment of tax returns, to gear up its revenue collection, said officials concerned.

Under the measures, tax returns of the previous year will be assessed, in case of not submission of returns in the current tax year, to determine payable tax in advance.

However, actual tax liability will be determined after the regular assessment of tax returns, said a senior tax official.

National Board of Revenue (NBR) took the decision in a recent meeting.

There are some 1.5 million taxpayers, who regularly file tax returns, out of the 3.3 million Taxpayers Identification Number (TIN)-holders.

A number of registered taxpayers refrain from filing their tax returns every year to avoid tax payment, the official also said.

Income tax collection of the government is lagging behind, registering a poor 12 per cent growth until January of the current fiscal year (FY), 2017-18.

The meeting was held to evaluate the income tax collection scenario in the first half of the current FY, and to assess the need for revising the current strategies and adopting new strategies.

It also decided to strengthen monitoring of source tax collection from the government's development projects.

According to NBR statistics, income tax collection fell short of the target by Tk 59.53 billion in July-January period of FY 18. The meeting adopted an action plan to achieve the target in the remaining months, the officials also said.

The provisional assessment of tax returns will help expedite realisation of payable tax from the taxpayers. Such assessment can be conducted any time after the first day of July to realise tax from the non-filers of tax returns, they noted.

Income Tax Ordinance 1984 has empowered the taxmen to conduct provisional assessment, which cannot be challenged by any taxpayer.

The officials further said NBR will focus on collection of Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) from the government's projects, tax deduction from employees' salaries, and speedy settlement of disputes and audit cases etc.

Also, expansion of tax net, conducting survey to find out new taxpayers, automation, and simplification of tax payment process are included in the set of measures.

Although the government vowed to increase direct tax collection, efforts to reform NBR's Income Tax Wing is still moving at a snail's pace, they added.

Dr Syed Aminul Karim, former income tax member of NBR, said as import cost went up by 26 per cent, the profit of large corporate bodies has shrunk, affecting income tax payment.

An increase in the price of US dollar against taka is the major reason behind the increase in import cost of products. "The trend of poor income tax collection growth may continue in the last quarter too." Corporate tax collection from banking sources may also go down due to the tightened monetary policy of Bangladesh Bank (BB), he opined.

Also, changes in revenue administration cause lack of policy continuity, and poor enforcement of the existing penal measures fails to give proper message to the tax evaders, he added.

He suggested gearing up prosecution efforts of Central Intelligence Cell (CIC) along with taking effective measures to stop harassment by field-level tax officials.

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