Tax revenue collection registered only 1.14 per cent growth in the first four months of the current fiscal year (FY), 2020-21, with Tk 204.45 billion shortfall against the target.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) collected Tk 665.55 billion tax revenue in July-October period against Tk 658.08 billion in the corresponding period of last FY.
The NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem disclosed the provisional data of revenue collection at a press conference on Thursday on NBR premises in the capital.
He said it should be appreciated, as the NBR collected higher tax revenue compared to that of the previous year despite the current economic situation amid Covid-19 pandemic.
The NBR achieved 4.41 per cent growth until September of the current FY.
At the press briefing, Mr Muneem said the NBR’s initiative to automate the tax administration, including online tax return, did not see success as per expectation due to lack of skilled manpower.
Priorities are given to purchasing software and hardware, but nobody thinks who will run the system, he said, responding to a query of newsmen.
Sometimes there is overstepping, as the NBR purchases software without building capacity of its manpower, he noted.
There is dependency on foreign companies in the name of automation. It is not expected that foreign companies will operate the automated system after developing it.
The NBR chairman, however, said the board is providing training to develop a skilled IT team, so that it can handle such automated system.
The NBR is also developing software to integrate import stage data with corporate tax collection.
In the press conference, Mr Muneem said the time for submitting tax returns for individual taxpayers will not be extended beyond November 30. The field-level tax offices are holding mini tax fair on their premises.
“We could not provide banking facility in the tax zones, but requested the banks to open a separate booth for payment of taxes.”
Taxpayers will have to submit tax returns in their respective tax circles, as the NBR is not holding tax fair on a large scale to maintain social distancing, he added.
Some 666 taxpayers will receive award as top taxpayers this year. Selection process of the taxpayers is going on.
Last year, some 2.2 million taxpayers submitted their tax returns to the NBR.
Until November 10, 2020, the NBR received 4,57,112 tax returns with Tk 19.21 billion tax.
Until October, the NBR collected Tk 207.40 billion income tax, posting a 4.98 per cent growth over the previous FY.
The NBR has set Tk 1.05 trillion target for its Income Tax Wing in the current FY. Target for income tax collection for July-October period was Tk 249.46 billion.
The NBR chairman said the board has sought help of the secondary sources, including city corporations and RAJUK, to find out new taxpayers.
Taxpayers can also be identified through tracking utility connections. But visiting from door to door for finding out taxpayers may create public nuisance.
To find out taxpayers at upazila level, the tax authority will have to calculate cost and return of the move, he opined.
The NBR has deployed local youths and leaders of business community for assisting taxmen in this regard.
On legalising undisclosed income, the NBR chairman said the opportunity has been given only for legally earned money, not for black money.
Some tax practitioners temper information in income tax returns without consent of the taxpayers concerned, thus creating undisclosed income, he commented.
The NBR will encourage disclosure of such type of income under the opportunity.
On VAT collection from social media, Mr Muneem said banks are deducting tax at the time of remitting fees to those media. But in case of payment in other ways, like – hundi, the NBR will lose its revenue.
“We have held meetings with the ministries of ICT, telecom, commerce and information in this regard.”
He emphasised pursuing the social media giants to open local office or appoint agents in Bangladesh.
The NBR is being deprived of its due VAT, as it requires keeping recorded transactions at all level.
The entity has successfully installed 100 Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs) in Dhaka and Chattogram, and installing 1,000 more EFDs in next phase is under progress.
“We may arrange lottery for encouraging consumers to receive EFD-generated vouchers,” he added.