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NBR set to collect secondary data to broaden tax net

  • Published at 12:29 am July 22nd, 2018
File photo of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) office in Dhaka Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Only 3.5 million hold e-TIN in a country with a population of 160 million

With the intent of expanding the country’s narrow tax base, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has moved to gather “secondary data” – the personal information of clients kept by organizations – of new potential taxpayers.

Despite the population of the country exceeding 160 million, there are only 3.5 million electronic Tax Identification Number (e-TIN) holders.

In his budget speech, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith had expressed the government’s intention to boost the number of taxpayers to 10 million within five years.

The NBR, through internal surveys, has begun to collect secondary data on potential taxpayers at the upazila level.

A senior NBR official explained the process, saying: “If I have a file of a company which mentions that it has 450 employees, I can gather their personal information and TIN numbers to find out their tax eligibility.”

According to sources at the NBR, the organization previously went door to door to collect such information. They opted to employ this new and more effective system at the beginning of this fiscal year.

The source also said: “The NBR is also taking information of trade licences that have been issued by the city corporations and municipalities.”

He also mentioned that the NBR is collecting information about foreigners from the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), vehicles owners from the BRTA, and land buying and selling information from sub-registry offices, power distribution, and service oriented offices.

Additionally, information on flat and house owners is being taken from the National Housing Authority, the NBR official said.

All these efforts will help NBR identify eligible taxpayers who are evading the tax net.

For Fiscal Year 2018-19, the government has set the total revenue target – including tax and non-tax revenue – at Tk3,39,280 crore. Of this amount, the NBR has been tasked to source Tk2,96,201 crore with income tax and other direct taxes contributing Tk102,201 crore, import and export taxes Tk32,589 crore, Value Added Taxes (VAT) Tk110,543 crore, supplementary duty Tk48,766 crore, excise duty Tk2,091 crore, and turnover tax Tk11 crore.