The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB) has called for a comprehensive, integrated and end-to-end digitisation of the activities of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) so that the hassles faced by the taxpayers are minimised.
ICMAB has recommended that audit of tax returns should be selected on the basis of an automated system based on revenue risk analysis for ensuring transparency and eliminating unnecessary harassment of the compliant taxpayers, said ICMAB President Md Abdur Rahman Khan at a pre-budget discussion held in the capital yesterday.
The organisation submitted a set of 62 proposals to NBR on 16 February this year, according to a press release from ICMAB.
It emphasised on restoring the basic philosophy of income tax by eliminating the existing discriminatory laws and regulations that significantly changed the basic characteristics of the direct taxation system in Bangladesh. ICMAB suggested to allow the minimum tax paid by the compliant taxpayers during the loss-making period as a tax credit against the tax payable in the profit-making years in future.
The vision of ICMAB is fully aligned with the vision of the Father of the Nation and her competent daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to help Bangladesh become an industrialised, developed and smart nation, said the ICMAB president.
At the programme, Ranjan Kumar Bhowmik, former member (tax) of NBR, and Md Kausar Alam, secretary of ICMAB, suggested amendments of the Income Tax Law and the VAT Law for improving tax compliance, expansion of tax net, and attracting local and foreign investments for the overall growth of our economy.
Dr Sayema Haque Bidisha, professor of economics at Dhaka University, TIM Nurul Kabir, executive director of Foreign Investors' Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Shamsul Huq Zahid, editor of The Financial Express, emphasised on digitalisation, proper monitoring and evaluation to expand the tax net.
They said the worldwide economic crisis arising due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia- Ukraine war may affect Bangladesh badly. So the country has to tackle the crisis prudently by combatting the challenge of containing high inflation and by creating new employment opportunities.
They also said the country's tax-GDP ratio is very low compared to other developing countries of the world, which warrants urgent attention of the policy makers. The proper management of the exchange rate is also a crucial area of concern, they added.
Chief Guest at the programme, Sheikh Mohammad Salim Ullah, secretary of Financial Institutions Division, said the policy makers have to consider cross-cutting issues such as macro-economic factors, fiscal policy and monetary policy in determining the budget size. The policy makers are often required to strike a balance between increasing the tax-GDP ratio and attracting foreign and local investment for job creation by offering tax exemptions.
Nevertheless, there is still ample scope to increase revenue collection by improving efficiency of tax administration by digitising the entire business process of NBR through which efficiency and integrity of revenue officials will be improved significantly, he added.