The National Board of Revenue plans to launch online VAT registration in March so that businesses can prepare to file returns electronically from the beginning of next fiscal year.
Manual registration will come to an end after the online system is introduced, said a senior official of NBR, seeking anonymity.
Businesses, particularly the small and medium enterprises that do not have access to the internet, will get support from VAT online services centres to comply with the new law that is expected to come into effect from July this year.
The revenue authority plans to open 12 centres to help businesses register and file returns online, according to the official.
Three centres are expected to open in Uttara, Motijheel, and Farmgate next week, he added. “Businesses will get all sorts of assistance without any cost.”
Firms will get registration online until June; returns can be filed starting in July.
The NBR is also considering a pilot phase in filing returns by the large VAT paying firms so that it can make the process user-friendly by addressing the issues raised.
Some 263 firms, including the companies under the Large Taxpayers Unit of VAT, have already re-registered online to get a nine-digit business identification numbers (BINs), which will replace the existing 11-digit BINs after the VAT and Supplementary Duty Act 2012 comes into effect.
The large Dhaka-based companies that have already registered for VAT online account for nearly 70 percent of the total VAT collected by the revenue authority.
The latest law, which will replace VAT Act 1991, will be implemented under an automated platform. It envisages a flat 15 percent VAT rate instead of various types of rates that are now in effect.
The government aims to implement the law through the automation of VAT systems in a bid to increase VAT collection and compliance.VAT, a type of consumption tax, is now the main source of revenue, accounting for 36 percent of the total tax of Tk 155,519 crore collected in fiscal 2015-16, according to NBR.
The government introduced VAT in 1991 to collect more from internal resources.