Drive to hunt new taxpayers
Mahfuz Emran: The per capita income of the people of the country has increased. Once upon a time, the rich used to rush to the city market to shop. The most capable people ran abroad. However, with the increase in economic activity in the country, people are inclined towards shopping. As a result, the market and shopping malls are increasing in the country due to the increase in demand. Currently, markets and shopping malls have been developed not only in the capital, but also in the divisional cities, district cities, and even at the upazila level. Many people buy and rent shops in these air-conditioned markets and shopping malls. Many people buy and do business by themselves. However, lakhs and crores of taka are spent to buy shops in these markets and shopping malls. Millions of taka are sold in these markets and shopping malls. But the National Board of Revenue (NBR) does not collect income tax from these shop owners and traders. NBR has taken the initiative to bring these shop owners and traders to tax net.
Every market and shopping mall has traders’ association or organization. As per the new Income Tax Act, these associations or organizations will have to compulsorily file returns with e-TIN. At the same time the members of these organizations also have to file returns with e-TIN. NBR has directed the tax zones to verify e-TINs and returns of these organizations and their members. At the same time, 401 associations, 83 chambers and their members of various importers, exporters and suppliers have also been directed to verify e-TIN, returns. Recently NBR has sent letters to tax zones. As a result, a large amount of new taxpayers will come under the tax net, NBR officials believe.
According to NBR sources, NBR has sent letters to all tax zones on November 23. Second Secretary (Investigation, Excise and ITP Reg.) Mir Md. Arif Hossain signed the letter, which states that, as per the ‘Income Tax Act, 2023’, industrial and commercial organizations, chambers and associations and their members included in the definition of company to ensure compliance with legal obligations of TIN, income tax return filing and PSR and increase the number of taxpayers have to do. Earlier, a similar letter was given on October 5. The letter directed the Tax Zones and Commissioners, as per Section 2(31)(e) of the Income Tax Act, 2023, to treat ‘any industrial and commercial organization, foundation, society, co-operative society and any educational institution’ as a company (Company Act, 1994 Act No. 18 of 1994) is defined. In view of this, each business association and chamber within the jurisdiction of each tax zone and the members of these organizations will have TINs.
Besides, these organizations and members have to submit income tax return on time and regular basis. According to Section 264(11) of the Income Tax Act, 2023, submission of Proof of Filing of Income Tax Return (PSR) has been made mandatory for ‘obtaining and maintaining membership of a trade body or professional body’.
According to the letter, it has been seen from the information taken from all the chambers of the NBR country, that most of the chambers and trade bodies, even many of their members do not have TIN at all. Many of those who have TINs do not file income tax returns, which is in direct violation of the Income Tax Act, 2023.
The tax zone has been instructed to ensure proper compliance of the income tax law with monitoring the issue of receiving TIN, filing income tax return and payment of income tax according to the filed income tax return of the chambers and associations under the jurisdiction of each tax zone and all the members of these organizations. It is to be noted that along with the letter, the list of FBCCI voter type, industrial and commercial organization based on tax circle has been given. The tax zones have been instructed to send their list to NBR after taking action.
On the other hand, the per capita income of the people of the country has increased. Due to the improved communication system, factories have been developed at the district-upazila level. As income increases, people’s demand increases. That is why small and big shops, markets, luxurious air-conditioned markets and shopping malls have been developed at the divisional city, district upazila and even at the upazila level. Every market and shopping mall has hundreds of shops and showrooms. Billions of rupees are being invested in every market and shopping mall, as well as billions of rupees of business. In these markets and shopping malls, many people buy shops and do business by themselves. Many have bought and rented shops. NBR is not able to bring these owners and businessmen under tax. Because many do not have e-TIN.
Many of those who have e-TINs do not file income tax returns. And those who give returns, investment in shops in these markets and shopping malls, sales do not show anything in the returns. As a result, the traders and owners of these markets and shopping malls can’t be brought under tax. However, NBR has taken the initiative to bring the owners and traders of these markets and shopping malls under tax. Every market, shopping mall has traders’ association or organization. Every association or organization has to obtain e-TIN as per the law, give returns. At the same time the members of the Association of Markets, shopping malls have to take E-TIN, pay returns. The NBR has directed the tax zones in a letter to take initiatives to ensure receipt of e-TINs and filing of returns of every association and members of the association. It has been asked to inform what measures have been taken according to the list given by NBR.
According to NBR sources, tax zones have been asked to provide information in three types of tables as per the list provided by NBR. The first table should give separate information regarding E-TINs of associations and chambers under the jurisdiction of the tax zone. Name and address of association or chamber, date of issue of e-TIN, total membership of association or chamber, whether income tax return has been filed. Similarly in the second table the members of the association and the chamber have to provide the e-TIN information. Name and address of association or chamber, name of members, name and address of organization, e-TIN, national identity card, date of issue of e-TIN, whether returns have been filed for FY 2022-23 and 2023-24. In the third table, other associations and chambers and their members are similarly asked to provide e-TIN, return filing information. Any association, chamber and any member of such association and chamber has not received e-TIN and filed return even if it is asked to provide information.
Sources also said that 401 associations and 83 chambers have been listed along with the letter from NBR to tax zones. These associations, chambers under the jurisdiction of certain tax zones and circles, are also mentioned in the list.
According to the Bangladesh Shop Owners Association, there are 70 to 75 lakh Bangladeshi shop owners across the country including the metropolis. Among the divisional cities, there are six to seven lakh big shop-traders in Dhaka, most of whom have a daily turnover of more than one lakh taka. There are more than two lakh in Khulna, one lakh in Rajshahi, four lakh in Chittagong. Apart from this, there are 40 to 50 thousand shopkeepers in the district towns. There are 1000 to 10000 shopkeepers in some upazilas.
Special Correspondent: President of the Bangladesh Insurance Forum (BIF), BM Yusuf Ali, ha…