Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday asked the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to be more attentive while collecting tax from business to ensure taxpayers-friendly services.
He also underscored the need for broadening the tax net instead of imposing more taxes on existing taxpayers.
The minister came up with the remarks while responding to some allegations, raised against the NBR by some business leaders at a view-exchange meeting and an award-giving ceremony held at a city convention centre.
The friendly tax collection process in a more expanded tax net will help encourage people to pay more tax in a friendly manner, which will ultimately increase the revenue collection and thus help in the implementation of the development projects, he said.
“As we need money to bear the expenditures, which is being collected from the businesses, they should not be harassed in any manner,” said Tofail.
The minister also instructed the NBR officials to be more careful in dealing with businesses, especially in the month of Ramadan, a pick time to do business.
The NBR organised the programme to mark the VAT day 2014 and also the beginning of VAT week from yesterday.
The minister has awarded nine companies under the national level while 27 other companies from Dhaka District for their outstanding contribution to the government’s exchequer in the financial year 2012-13.
This year, the board also awarded a total of 122 VAT payers from all over the country.
Prime Minister’s economic affairs adviser Moshiur Rahman said if businesses keep their accounting related documents accordingly and NBR conducts regular check up, there should be no problem in VAT collection.
Attending the programme, some business leaders alleged that the tax officials are harassing them while collecting taxes.
“The tax officials are harassing us in the month of Ramadan by confiscating our accounts-related documents from our shops,” said Dhaka City Shop Owners Association president Tawfiq Hassan.
In response, NBR member and acting chairman Farid Uddin assured the businesses of instructing all the tax commissioners to issue an order to their field-level offices, asking them not to harass any one.
Bangladesh Restaurant Owners’ Association secretary general Rezaul Karim Sarker Robin urged the NBR officials to introduce consumers’ paying VAT.
“Although the service consumers do not want to pay VAT when we demand VAT from them, the NBR is still pressing the companies to pay VAT.”
Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) director Abdur Razzak requested the NBR officials to remove some of the shortcomings identified in the VAT law, including some in tariff value, truncated VAT rate, advance trade VAT in import stage etc.
He also demanded for introducing multiple VAT rates like the European countries as the businesses from the manufacturing sector are not getting rebates as they collect raw materials from the informal sector.
The new Value-Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act-2012, which will come into effect on July 1, 2015 will have no provisions for package VAT or truncated value-based VAT system.
With the introduction of the law, all level of business have to pay a unique and a single VAT rate at 15% from the next fiscal.
FBCCI acting president Monowara Hakim Ali said if there are separate rates for VAT collection for small, medium and large companies, it will boost the revenue collection.
However, the NBR member (VAT) Barrister Jahangir Hossain noted that the new law would not be harmful, rather, it will have some good features to support the businesses.
The NBR will launch educational campaigns after Eid which will help to arrange a taxpayer friendly system.
“With the new law, every work under the VAT system will go online and there will be central processing centre, risk assessment cell, recovery unit, taxpayers’ services unit, and call centre to facilitate taxpayers in getting their services hassle-free,” the member added.