This mistrust that the public have with regard to taxes is a dire issue
The attempts made by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and the relevant authorities concerned to automate our income tax, value added tax, and customs wings fully online are certainly commendable.
Unfortunately, these attempts mean little when they continue to miss deadlines, and the system remains as opaque as it historically has been. Thus, while it is disappointing that the NBR missed the deadline to the latest online tax return project that was set to be completed by August, at this point it is no longer a surprise. This, however, cannot be the modus operandi for our taxation.
Taxation has been a recurring point of vexation in Bangladesh for far too long, and it is no wonder that the NBR fails to reach its revenue targets every year by a considerable margin. Despite the attempts, filing for taxes remains an altogether complicated procedure, and when factored in the harassment and the lack of transparency regarding taxes, it is no wonder that Bangladeshis look at taxation with suspicion, and feel it is just the government robbing their money.
This mistrust that the public have with regard to taxes is a dire issue, and we will never be able to reach our full potential as an economy without a reliable tax base in the country, and where people pay taxes believing that this money is going to be used to better the country.
To that end, the NBR must do a better job with its attempts at making paying taxes, and any other tax-related processes, easier for citizens. This means ensuring that its projects are on time, that the online processes are functional, and above all, that citizens are appreciated, rather than harassed for doing the right thing and paying their taxes.