Income tax fair draws huge crowd
Make tax payment procedures easier, HT Imam asks NBRStaff Correspondent
The third weeklong income tax fair began in 11 districts and seven divisional headquarters across the country on Sunday to provide income tax-related services and information to people and inspire them to pay taxes.
The prime minister’s public administration affairs adviser, HT Imam, inaugurated the Dhaka divisional fair in the Officers’ Club’s auditorium and asked the National Board of Revenue to make the tax payment procedures, including submission of tax returns, simpler and tax payer-friendly.
‘Income tax payment procedures have to be made easier as the procedures including return submission, tax payment through banks and online are rather complicated, and make the people reluctant to pay taxes,’ said Imam.
He said that many people wanted to pay taxes but the complex procedures and overbearing tax officials made them unwilling to do so.
‘The NBR should remove all kinds of fear from the minds of taxpayers so that people willingly come forward to pay taxes,’ he said.
The fairs will continue for seven days till 22 September in the divisional headquarters and for five days in 11 district towns till September 20.
In first day of the fair, a lot of enthusiastic people and taxpayers visited the fair in Dhaka and sought information on taking new tax identification numbers (TIN), filling up tax returns and paying taxes online and at bank booths.
Md Riazul Bashar, an employee of a private company, told New Age that he had come to the fair to get information on how to get a TIN.
‘Visiting tax offices leads to harassment, some of my colleagues told me. But it seems that I will get TIN and other services easily in the fair,’ he said.
Rafiqul Islam, a businessman, came to the fair to submit his return and expressed satisfaction at the attitude of the revenue officials.
‘Taxmen helped me to fill up the returns and pay income tax,’ he said.
Taxpayers will get the opportunity in the fairs to assess their taxes by using the online tax calculating software and get TINs and certificates instantly.
The NBR has set up some ‘help desks and inquiry desks’ in the fair for visitors where they will get answers to their queries regarding tax payment.
There are 159 booths installed by the tax zones and tax circles of Dhaka division to help taxpayers, and four booths of Sonali Bank and two of Janata Bank for collecting taxes.
The NBR aims to provide services to 1 lakh people and collect Tk 500 crore as income tax from the fairs, which will remain open from 10am to 5pm everyday, said its chairman Nasir Uddin Ahmed.
He said the response of the taxpayers is satisfactory and the NBR is planning to organise such fairs in all district towns from next year to take tax-related services to the doorsteps of taxpayers.
Tax officials will go to the taxpayers with tax-related services at the upazila level in the future, he added.
Last year the NBR arranged such fairs only in the seven divisional headquarters, but this year the fairs has been spread to 11 districts also —Bogra, Comilla, Dinajpur, Faridpur, Jessore, Kushtia, Mymensingh, Noakhali, Pabna, Patuakhali and Gazipur.
The NBR collected Tk 414.39 crore in income tax in 2011 from the fairs’ visitors where 62,272 people submitted their income tax returns, and 10,041 obtained TINs.
In the first such fair in the country in 2010, the NBR collected Tk 113 crore in income tax, and 52,544 people submitted their tax returns and 5,638 obtained new TINs.
Currently, there are 35.28 lakh TIN holders in the country, of whom only 10.56 lakh submitted returns in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
The NBR has set a target to increase the number of TIN holders to 50 lakh by the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
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