Weeklong tax fair begins today
The annual tax fair begins today to enable individual taxpayers to congregate and file returns and complete tax procedures all in one spot.
Within November 7, the National Board of Revenue is scheduled to hold the event for one or two days at the upazila level, for four days at district towns and for seven days in divisional cities.
It plans to offer cards and stickers reading "I am a proud taxpayer" to those who submit their income tax returns for the year 2017-18 at the fairs in Dhaka and Chittagong.
In Dhaka city, the fair will take place at the NBR's under-construction headquarters in Agargaon.
The NBR said it has expanded tax fair venues to 103 upazilas this year from 86 upazilas in the previous year to reach the grassroots in a bigger way in a bid to create awareness and motivate people to pay tax.
"We are expecting more taxpayers at the fairs and an increase in the number of return submissions. We hope to see a rush of taxpayers at the fair to get tax cards," said Md Abdur Razzaque, a member of the tax administration at the NBR.
The NBR has been holding the fair since 2010 to motivate people to pay taxes and create a tax culture in a country where less than 1 percent of the population submit returns regularly.
Since the introduction, the popularity of the event has grown as it helps taxpayers receive assistance, submit returns and complete formalities without visiting tax offices.
This year the tax authority, along with honouring 141 top taxpayers from various sectors and professions with tax cards, will recognise as "Kar Bahadur" or "Tax Icon" those families whose members have been paying a high amount tax for a long time.
The NBR placed a proposal before Finance Minister AMA Muhith to honour as "Kar Bahadur" or "Tax Icon" 16 families from Dhaka district, eight from Chittagong district and one each from the remaining districts.
The recognition is expected to come on November 8.
Razzaque said the tax fair in Dhaka would be organised in a larger venue so that taxpayers can prepare their income tax returns, pay tax through bank booths and submit returns without hassle.
The NBR said there would be help desks at the fairs so that taxpayers can submit returns.
Taxpayers will also be able to pay taxes through Sonali and Janata banks, while potential taxpayers will get electronically generated taxpayer identification numbers.
The NBR said separate booths would provide tax-related assistance to women, the physically challenged, the elderly and freedom fighters. Booths will also be set up to help taxpayers file returns online.
The tax administrator would also organise a "tax week" from November 24 to 30 at field offices so that taxpayers can complete tax-related formalities ahead of the November 30 deadline for submitting income tax returns.
In the 2016 tax fair, the number of service recipients surged to 7.57 lakh. Some 1.94 lakh returns were filed during last year's event, surpassing the previous high of 1.61 lakh, which was registered the preceding year.
Direct or income tax, the second biggest source of revenue of the state, accounted for 35 percent of the total revenue of Tk 185,003 crore in fiscal 2016-17, according to the NBR's data.