Despite having taxable income, Dipali Tripura never paid taxes.
Travelling to Chattogram city from Matiranga upazila in Khagrachari district just to submit income tax returns would cost too much time and money for the assistant teacher of Baillachhari Muslimpara Government Primary School.
It could even require two to three days to complete the whole procedure. However, two years ago, Dipali participated in a workshop on taxation organised by KPI Service BD. The organisation provides services related to taxation, accounting, finance and technology across the country.
Motivated by the workshop, Dipali has since been paying taxes from Matiranga through the organisation.
KPI Service BD has conducted 500 workshops on taxation in 12 upazilas of Chattogram and two upazilas of Khagrachhari over the last two years. Inspired by these workshops, 3,000 people have started paying income taxes.
Now they submit their income tax returns from their own respective areas with the help of KPI Service BD.
Over the last two years, Taxes Zone-4 of Chattogram has collected Tk3.5 crore from these new taxpayers, according to its Deputy Commissioner Saiful Islam. Most of them are teachers of different government primary and secondary schools, colleges and madrasas in the remote areas.
"Earlier, the rate of collecting income taxes from the village schools was very poor. But collections have surpassed our expectation over the past two years," said Saiful Islam.
He further said that KPI's services are complementary to that of theirs.
"We could not reach the grassroots level due to a manpower shortage. Now KPI Service BD is doing that work. The initiative of this organisation has created a milestone in generating new taxpayers."
Md Meftah Uddin Khan, member of Tax Appeal and Exemption at the National Board of Revenue, said KPI Services has no agreement with the government regarding this.
"They are assisting they government of their own accord. The KPI programme to encourage teachers in remote areas of Khagrachhari and thus generating new taxpayers is undoubtedly a good initiative," he said.
"We want to bring all the areas across the country under income tax coverage. If this kind of initiatives expand, the number of taxpayers will definitely increase," Meftah added.
New taxpayers can submit their taxes through bank drafts, which they then give to KPI Service BD. KPI submits those at Chattogram's tax zone office on behalf of the taxpayers, for which they charge around Tk300-Tk500.
The organisation usually charges taxpayers in remote areas less.
Krishna Laal Devnath, primary education officer of Khagrachhari's Guimara upazila, said KPI Services is helping people living in the remote hilly areas of Chattogram to obtain tax identification number (TIN) certificates and submit their income tax returns.
"This year 13 teachers of Kodurkhil Government High School have submitted their income tax returns after being inspired by the KPI's workshop," said Biswajit Barua, head master of the school in Boalkhali upazila.
Kamrul Hasan, former president of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh, Chattogram region, and chief financial officer of KDS Group, said paying income taxes is mandatory for government employees with basic salaries above Tk16,000.
The teachers are now becoming aware of this through the workshops, he added.
KPI Services BD Founder and CEO Priyo Dey recounted the story of his organisation to The Business Standard.
A young Priyo had always wanted to contribute to the country's development. Although he joined a private organisation in Chattogram city after completing his MBA from Chattogram University, he quit soon after when he realised he was not contributing to the country.
In 2018, he established KPI Service BD, with the aim of providing people with income tax services and spreading awareness about the importance of paying taxes.
Currently, six consultants work in the organisation. It conducts its activities mainly from its Mirsarai office. Besides, it has an office in Dhaka and another in Chattogram.
Priyo is an income tax consultant and a member of Dhaka Taxes Bar Association.
"We arrange workshops in all the schools, colleges and madrasas in the upazilas," said Priyo, adding, "We conduct sessions on rules and regulations regarding income tax as well as on tax planning, TIN registration, submitting returns and some other related issues."
For now, KPI Services BD is focusing on educational institutions in the remote areas.