National Board of Revenue (NBR) officials have emphasised further digitising the tax system of the country in order to provide better services to taxpayers, speeding up revenue collection, and cutting state expenditure.
Speaking at a seminar on "Role of Income Tax in Implementation of Vision and Building of Future Bangladesh" on Tuesday, NBR officials called for complete automation of the revenue system in order to reduce the bottlenecks created by the existing traditional system, in providing better services.
"Bangladesh's tax system is still highly traditional. This is causing disruption in service delivery, delaying revenue collection, and above all increasing the cost management of the state," Md Shamsuddin Ahmed, tax member, NBR, said while presenting the keynote paper at the seminar held at the meeting hall of NBR Building in the capital.
"Therefore," he said, "it is time for complete automation of the revenue system along with process simplification, audit selection, information-based assessment and Integrated Revenge Management Program (IRMP) of the system."
Shamsuddin said new technologies have brought challenges for the Income Tax Department and urged for officials to be trained to use these technologies.
"The officers of the tax department should acquire specialised knowledge and training at national and international level on modern technologies including Data Mining, Data Analysis, Cloud Computing, Cryptocurrency, Forensic Accounting, Tax intelligence, Cyber Security," said the NBR official.
Meanwhile, presiding over the seminar, NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Munim said, Bangladesh's national budget is determined on the basis of income, and the simplest and most logical way to meet the budget target is to increase the revenue collection net.
He asked for taxpayers' cooperation in this regard, saying, "Their [taxpayers] tendency to evade taxes need to be reduced. At the same time, our public and private organisations should reduce the tendency of seeking tax exemption."
Commenting on the digitalisation of the revenue system, Munim said that NBR, in collaboration with the Institute of Chartered Accountants, has launched the Document Verification System, which allows authorities to detect Fake Audit Reports.
He also said, "The biggest inconvenience to taxpayers is to go and pay the tax themselves. We have launched online tax return services. We have reduced the tax rate greatly. The lesser the burden of paying tax is, the more people will be able to pay taxes."
Meanwhile, speaking as the chief guest at the event, Law Minister Anisul Haque said, "We have to be more responsible in spending the taxpayers' money. We need to ensure that the money is not wasted or misused and that it is used in the best possible way."
He informed that income tax collection has seen a 23.63% growth in the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
The law minister said, "Our goal is to increase the government revenue to 19.55% and 24.15% of the gross domestic product in 2031 and 2041, respectively. In addition, increasing the contribution of direct tax to the total revenue to above 50% by 2041.
Also speaking at the programme as a special guest, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) Jasim Uddin urged for determining income tax on the basis of income.