Introducing more IT-based solutions into the process would go a long way to allay public fear
One of the more persistent problems in Bangladesh is our disproportionately narrow tax base.
The number of tax-paying citizens is quite low, and while the National Board of Revenue has taken some noticeable steps to widen the general tax base, the circumstances surrounding value-added tax demand equal attention, if not more.
Collection of VAT is a far more involved process that requires more advanced technologies in order to maintain accounts and keep track of the money flowing in. To that end, the NBR has so far relied on 11 eligible IT firms in developing software specific to the VAT collection and tabulation.
While it is good to know that the NBR indeed relies on some level of automation in its tax-collection endeavours, the number of firms aiding them is not enough to get the job done with any modicum of efficiency and speed.
To that end, it is also good to know that the NBR is willing to increase its list of approved firms in order to expedite its VAT collection processes and its implementation of the Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act 2012.
There is a lot of justifiable public uncertainty and scepticism surrounding tax, and a lot of it has to do with the unchecked levels of corruption and bureaucracy that plague our government administrative offices.
While it is absolutely imperative for the administration to root out these problem elements and restore some faith in tax collection, introducing more IT-based solutions into the process would go a long way to allay public fear.
Any successful economy all but requires an efficient, functioning tax system, and for Bangladesh, which is seeking to achieve middle income status within the near future, it is absolutely imperative.