On the last day of the week-long Income Tax Fair, a large number of people attended the event across the country.
Despite the ongoing transportation strike, visitors flooded the fair venue at the Officers' Club in Dhaka since Wednesday morning and formed long queues at the entrance. The National Board of Revenue (NBR) extended the fair by three hours to 8pm to accommodate the large number of visitors.
Along with individual taxpayers, representatives of 21 big companies from the banking, insurance and pharmaceutical sectors paid Tk293 crore in income taxes at the fair in Dhaka on the final day.
Sources from the revenue board said Trust Bank Ltd paid Tk25 crore in income tax – the largest amount paid on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the National Bank, Dutch-Bangla Bank, City Bank and Square Pharmaceuticals each paid Tk20 crore in taxes.
The Dhaka Bank paid Tk15 crore in income tax.
The Jamuna Bank, United Commercial Bank, Prime bank, Standard Bank, Al Arafah Islami Bank, Bank Asia, Pubali Bank, Uttara Bank, Mutual Trust Bank and Sadharan Bima Corporation each paid Tk10 crore in taxes.
Representatives from Beximco Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Pharmaceuticals handed over pay-orders at the fair in Dhaka. NBR Chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan received the pay-orders submitted by large taxpayers.
Speaking at the event, he said, "We are working to extend the tax net and inspire the taxpayers. The fair is part of this initiative.
"In the past few years, Bangladesh's tax-to-GDP ratio stood at around 10-11 percent. Our aim is to increase the tax-to-GDP ratio to 15 percent by 2025. We must take the ratio to 20 percent by 2030 to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs]."
At the fair, the organisation collected Tk2,615 crores in taxes, around 18.63 lakh visitors availed tax-related services and 6.55 lakh people submitted their tax returns.
The week-long fair was held at the divisional headquarters, while as many as 56 districts observed a four-day long revenue collection event. A total of 132 upazilas held two-day long collection events, while taxpayers in 70 upazilas submitted their returns.
Addressing the Dhaka venue, Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said, "Around 5.5 lakh people submitted their tax returns on the first six days of the countrywide week-long fair.
"After the fair concludes, people will be able to file their tax returns until November 30. Income tax offices will showcase an environment similar to the tax fair. Stern action will be taken against any official found to be involved in harassment of taxpayers."
The revenue board has announced November 30 as the deadline for submitting tax returns, but even after that, anyone can submit a written application to ask for an extension period. A person will have to pay 2 percent interest for each month, on top of due income tax, after missing this deadline.
If anyone fails to submit tax returns and also fails to submit an application for time extension, the person will be slapped with a fine and an interest. Under existing regulations, the fine will be imposed from December 1.
The section 124 of the Income Tax Ordinance states, where any person has, without reasonable cause, failed to file a return of income, the deputy commissioner of taxes may impose upon such person a penalty amounting to ten percent of tax imposed on last assessed income, subject to a minimum of Tk1,000.
In the case of a continuing default, a further penalty of Tk50 for every day during which the default continues, will be added.
The NBR chairman said, "Paying the income tax is a moral obligation for those who qualify, as it directly contributes to the country's development. If anyone fails to submit tax returns and pay taxes, we will make an effort to collect those, along with the fines."