Thursday, July 18, 2019

We must make a ‘habit’ of paying income tax for development: acting NBR chief

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2018-11-30 15:13:30 BdST


The cultural activists and icons of Bangladesh have urged people to make a habit of paying income tax for the development of the country instead of considering it a burden.

They spoke during an event organised by the National Board of Revenue marking Income Tax Day on Friday.

“We are now making a habit of paying income tax. Everyone in the country, those who are to pay the tax, must cultivate a habit of paying the tax,” said film star Gulshan Ara Champa.

“Everyone should be aware of the taxes, especially young people. Bangladesh will reach the list of developed countries when all of us pay our taxes,” said film star Ferdous.

“The finance minister said paying taxes is an achievement, and I believe it is true. I feel proud to imagine that a pack of cement used to construct the Padma Bridge is bought with my contribution,” said Reaz, another film actor.

“Bangladesh has a favourable environment for paying taxes. If we can build Padma Bridge, we can build the tallest tower in the world. And everyone has to pay their taxes so that we can realise this dream,” said singer Shuvro Deb.

The government celebrates Nov 30 as Income Tax Day to raise awareness about paying the income tax. This year’s Income Tax Day on the theme: ‘Development is Achieved Through Paying Income Tax’.

With the election looming, the NBR has kept the festivities limited to a discussion at its offices,   unlike previous years that featured colourful processions.

The negative mentality on income tax among tax payers has ended through events such as the Income Tax Fair and Income Tax Day, said NBR officials.

Bangladesh can reach the list of developed countries if it increases its income tax revenue tenfold, said Sirajul Islam, acting chairman of NBR, as he urged everyone to pay the taxes.

“In my 33 years of the service I have witnessed a 26-fold increase in income tax revenue. We collected Tk 26 billion in 1986, which has now become massive after the 26-fold increase. Bangladesh could become the third largest economy in the world if it increases 26-fold,” he said.

The total tax revenue collected last year was $30 billion.

“If we can increase it 26-fold our total will be $780 billion. China collects $1.5 trillion and the US collects $2 trillion in income tax. Even if our collection increases tenfold, we could graduate to the level of a high income country.”

“We have created a friendly relationship with the tax payers. Now we celebrate Income Tax Day and Income Tax Fair. We plan to do more in the future to create a tax friendly environment,” Sirajul said.

In the past two years income tax return submissions has increased by 40 percent, he said.

“At present we have 1.5 million active tax payers. Our country will develop more when we have 100 million taxpayers.  Our economy will be stronger if we can raise the tax ratio of 12 percent."

Last year the number of total taxpayers increased to 3.8 million from 3.2 million, said NBR member Kalipada Haldar. It was only 1.2 million in 2014, he added.

"The number of registered taxpayers increased three times in the last four years. The actual number of taxpayers has increased five-fold in the last 10 years."