Various types of corruption of the anti-graft body could be found if anyone looks into its affairs objectively, said National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Md Mosharaff Hossain Bhuiyan yesterday.
“Everyone in our country have records of corruption. We have to change this culture,” he said in response to a question regarding the findings of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on corruption in the income tax department.
The ACC has recently identified 13 sources of graft in the income tax department of the revenue collector and sent its report to the cabinet division on November 8.
“I am yet to get any report and I disagree with the Anti-Corruption Commission's view,” he said at a press conference at the NBR headquarters.
The NBR organised the press meet to announce the schedule of the ninth edition of the income tax fair, which will kick off tomorrow in all divisional cities and end on November 19.
The tax fair is expected to raise awareness and assist taxpayers to furnish tax returns and complete tax-related formalities for the income year 2018-19.
In Dhaka, the show will take place at Officers' Club and taxpayers would get assistance from taxmen from morning until evening.
Taxpayers would be able to pay tax online using the NBR's e-payment portal, and there will be booths of three banks for tax payment at the fair.
The tax authority has also kept separate booths for women, freedom fighters and senior citizens.
The tax fair will take place in GEC Convention Centre in the port city tomorrow. Chattogram City Corporation Mayor AJM Nasir Uddin is scheduled to inaugurate the fair at 10:00am.
Apart from divisional cities, the show will take place for four days in district towns, for two days in 32 upazilas and for one day through mobile trucks in 70 upazilas between November 13 and November 19, according to the NBR.
The ACC said there is a lack of transparency in spending for tax fairs, which creates scope for corruption.
Despite advancement of technology the NBR is still carrying out its activities in an old-fashioned manner, keeping all the information of taxpayers and returns manually, which creates scope of corruption, the anti-graft watchdog said in its report.
Accountability of officials cannot be ensured as there is no deadline for disposing of complains.
The ACC also identified “excessive arbitrary power” of taxmen as one of the biggest sources of corruption.
Involvement of some officials as consultants of taxpayers creates scope for corruption, the report added.
The extent of corruption will decline once the country attains the expected level of development, Bhuiyan said.
Various types of corruption prevail in places where the unemployment rate is high.
Low pay for public officials may also create a tendency among them, he said, adding that the last pay scale for government employees was handsome enough though.
“Awareness against corruption among people has risen. This should be enhanced.”
There are studies on the extent of corruption in various departments, Bhuiyan said.
“So, if the ACC targets only the income tax and customs and tries to establish an office here, that will not happen.”
In response to a question regarding barring tax defaulters from participating in the upcoming national election, he said the NBR would take an initiative in this regard at the beginning of the tenure of the next government.
Provisions in the income tax laws related to tax compliance by candidates contesting in polls have not been changed, Bhuiyan said.
The income tax ordinance 1984 makes it mandatory for a person running for election for municipality, city corporation or member of parliament to submit income tax return.
“Candidates who are collecting tax clearance certificates voluntarily, let them collect -- we will not run after them. As election schedule has already been announced, we want to let the election take place. We do not want any controversy related to election. For this reason, we will not take any step in this regard.”
Bhuiyan also spoke on revenue collection, saying that receipts in the first quarter of the fiscal year were not satisfactory.
He expects the collections to rise in the coming months.
The NBR has a target to increase the number of Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) to 50 lakh over the next two years.
“We would carry out door-to-door surveys and take help of the city corporation to increase the number of taxpayers,” the NBR chairman added.