NBR honours top VAT payers
In an effort to encourage compliance and increase mass awareness of the necessity of paying taxes, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) yesterday honoured nine businesses for depositing the highest amount of VAT in the state coffer in fiscal 2015-16.
Some 140 businesses were also recognised for topping their respective district-wise lists. Among them were 27 from Dhaka division.
The NBR also honoured reporters from the print and electronic media, including state-run ones, for their contribution to the awareness campaigns.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith and Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu handed over the crests and certificates while NBR Chairman Md Nojibur Rahman chaired the event at NBR's under construction headquarters in the capital's Agargaon.
The NBR also handed over newly introduced VAT Honour Cards to the firms as a sign of appreciation for compliance.
The programme was in observance of VAT Day and simultaneously marked the start of VAT Week till December 15.
“This is really good to get this recognition. We expect that others will be motivated with the recognition that we have got,” said Rupali Chowdhury, managing director of Berger Paints Bangladesh, one of the nine businesses.
None of the honoured companies had disputes with the NBR, which is one of the key selection criteria.
It would have been good if some material benefits were also provided to firms doing consistently well, said Chowdhury.
She said VAT, supplementary duty as well as corporate tax should be imposed at tolerable levels so that local manufacturers can compete with imported products.
This is the 12th year that the NBR acknowledged firms in manufacturing, trade and services in a bid to increase collection of VAT, which is now the biggest source of revenue followed by income tax and customs duty.
Also known as consumption tax, VAT accounted for 36 percent of the Tk 185,003 crore collected as revenue in fiscal 2016-17.
Although the collection has been increasing over the years, it was still short of the country's requirements, said Muhith.
“Yet a change is taking place and this is visible,” he said, citing the increase in the number of Taxpayers Identification Numbers (TINs).
“Those who are paying taxes are mainly the young people. They are on the forefront. They are taking our country forward,” he said.
Amu called upon all to pay tax properly so that the state could continue development activities.
“When a road is built, many raise questions about its benefit. Many do not want to realise that businesses are set up on both sides of the road. This benefits several thousand families,” he said.
“Tax payment creates increased scope for earnings,” he said.
Amu suggested that NBR modernise the tax system so that people could pay it easily. “...so that people feel confident and transparency is ensured,” he said.
Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, also demanded establishing a tax system enabling payments in an environment free from fear and harassment.
Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the finance ministry, said awareness has been increased and it was now time to translate it into action to boost revenue collection.
He said many shop operators do not want to accept credit cards against purchases. “Instead they want payments in cash to avoid tax payment,” he said.
“How do we come out of this mentality?” he asked, stressing the need for ensuring that payments were accepted through cards so that VAT could actually reach the state coffer.