Experts also said that there is a need to simplify the tax collection process and increase the efficiency of revenue collection officers
Senior taxpayer citizens have called upon the authorities to try to keep money in the country even by offering special tax benefits to those who are laundering money abroad for fear of paying taxes.
Experts also said that there is a need to simplify the tax collection process and increase the efficiency of revenue collection officers.
They made the comments at a seminar titled "Increasing Income Tax Coverage through Improved Services" was organised by the National Board of Revenue (NBR).
Former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Professor Pran Gopal Dutt joined the seminar through a video conference.
"The NBR should consider whether it can keep the money in the country even with a tax haven for the citizens who are laundering money abroad for fear of paying taxes to the country."
Referring to his statement, NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem said, "I also agree with the proposal of Professor Pran Gopal Dutt. We have to think about whether special tax benefits can be given to those who are laundering money abroad for fear of paying taxes in the country.
"We need to figure out how to give them facilities."
The government does not have an exact account of how much money is laundered from Bangladesh every year.
According to data of the Washington-based think tank Global Financial Integrity published earlier this year, nearly $6 billion was siphoned out of Bangladesh in 2015 under the guise of trade.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said at a recent event that the government had found the truth of money laundering from Bangladesh to Canada.
"Most of the people involved in money laundering are government employees," he added.
NBR Chairman Muneem said the revenue collection would have to be much higher if the government wants to meet the target of moving Bangladesh to a higher middle income country by 2030 and a developed one by 2041.
That's why he emphasised the importance of creating a "taxpayer-friendly environment", saying "Tax laws should be simplified and the tax net should be expanded through the use of advanced technology."
Besides taking necessary steps to stop money laundering, Professor Pran Gopal Dutt advised the NBR to find out whether there are some tax benefits for the country's citizens above 70 years of age.
Nazneen Ahmed, a senior research fellow at the state-run research institute Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), said, "We've almost tripled our per capita income from $700 to $2,064 in just ten years, a success that our neighbours are concerned about."
She emphasised increasing revenue collection to take the country towards further development by maintaining this success.
"The tax administration needs to create a tax-friendly environment to increase revenue collection. If a taxpayer is harassed somewhere, he or she should have a system to report," she added.
Nazneen Ahmed suggested a massive campaign to motivate people to pay taxes as well as raise the capacity of the NBR by increasing its manpower.
Mamun Rashid, the managing partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers Bangladesh, said that in order to increase revenue collection, steps must be taken to reduce the tax administration's distance from taxpayers.
He also suggested the use of modern technology in the expansion of the tax net.
Among others, NBR Member (tax policy) Mohammad Alamgir Hossain, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh President Farooq Ahmed and other senior taxpayers spoke on the occasion.