The huge number of people participating in the ongoing Income Tax Fair turned the event into a true festival on the very first day.
On Thursday, people thronged to the Income Tax Fair organised at the Officers' Club in Dhaka. They formed queues to get information on tax returns, income tax forms, invoices and electronic Tax Identification Number (e-TIN).
M Amirul Islam, a regional manager of Karmasangsthan Bank, said, "Submitting a tax return is our civic duty. I pay tax every year. I came to the fair as all services related to submitting the tax return, tax payments are available under the same roof here."
"At the income tax office, we have to go to different rooms. Often you cannot find the officials there. Then we need to go to the bank to deposit the money. Several officials check the tax return form. Often the tax payers are harassed. At the fair there are no problems like these. You can finish everything within a very short time," he added.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal launched the seven-day long Income Tax Fair on Thursday. The National Board of Revenue organised the 10th edition of the tax fair to raise awareness about the tax services.
The weeklong fair will be held at the divisional headquarters, while as many as 56 districts will observe a four-day-long revenue collection event. A total of 32 upazilas will hold two-day long collection while taxpayers in 70 upazilas will be able to submit their returns at day-long programmes that will be scheduled between Nov 14 to Nov 20.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina submitted her tax return at the fair today through her tax lawyer Siddique Hossain Chowdhury, who submitted it on her behalf.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal also paid income tax and submitted his tax return at the fair. He said, "Paying tax is a person's civic and religious duty. We are working for underprivileged people. Everybody needs to pay tax for that."
Describing the amount of income tax paid by his family, the finance minister said, "My actual wealth amounts to Tk68.22 crore and my taxable income is Tk2.63 crore. I have paid Tk91.46 lakh income tax. My wife's wealth amounts to Tk50.98 crore and her taxable income is 2.52 crore. She paid Tk71.29 lakh income tax."
Meanwhile, the finance minister's elder daughter paid Tk2.82 crore tax while his younger daughter paid Tk2.61 crore.
The total wealth belonging to AHM Mustafa Kamal's family amounts to Tk321.65 crore and together they paid Tk7.6 crore in taxes.
At the event the finance minister said, "I paid tax for the first time in 1970. I paid 560 Pakistani Rupees at that time. Since 1996-1997 my family has paid Tk51.72 crore to the government treasury."
Former communications minister Abul Hossain also paid tax on the first day of the Income Tax Fair.
Among corporate tax payers, Grameenphone paid Tk150 crore and Islami Bank paid Tk100 crore.
After paying tax and submitting the tax return, Grameenphone's Chief Operating Officer Michael Foley said, "Grameenphone pays tax following international standards. The fair has a festive atmosphere, and Grameenphone paid tax here to be a part of that."
The finance minister also said, "There are fewer irregularities over tax payment now. But if any official still misbehaves or does something illegal while collecting taxes, he will face action."