3 lakh new taxpayers next year: Muhith
The government aims to increase the number of total taxpayers to 15 lakh by adding 3 lakh new taxpayers in the next fiscal, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday.
Before end of the tenure of the present government, the taxpaying population should rise to 20-21 lakh, he told a post-budget discussion, organised by Bangladesh Study Trust (BST) at the Jatiya Press Club.
Muhith shared the target after some discussants pointed to the present number of taxpayers of 12 lakh, who account for less than one percent of the total population.
The number should be much higher, said participants.
Mohammed Farashuddin, former governor of Bangladesh Bank, quoted international management firm Boston Consulting Group as saying that the country had more than one crore of population with an annual income over $5,000.
"Then why is the number of taxpayers so small?" he said.
"It is shameful for a country," said AK Abdul Momen, chairman of BST, referring to the small taxpaying population.
Muhith said he was very hopeful about the youths whom he saw crowding at tax fairs every year to pay tax.
But the problem lies with implementation of the new VAT law, which envisages an automated VAT administration and collection system.
The problem will be solved if businessmen keep records and accounts properly, said Muhith who backtracked from enforcing the law from July this year.
The new timeline is July 2017.
Muhith said the government planned to give electronic cash registers or accounting machines at subsidised rates to businesses so that they could keep records of transactions easily.
He also called for investment, saying entrepreneurs would get required gas by 2019 as the government would LNG terminals to import gas.
"Gas supply will not be a problem for the next 50 years. You come. You will get gas," said Muhith.
Discussants also wanted curbing of tax evasion, avoidance and illegal fund transfer abroad to increase revenue.
They called for ensuring accountability of public officials.
"Waste rises in public expenditure," said Farashuddin, citing road construction and repairs during the rainy season.
"Rainwater washes away taxpayers' money," he said.
Citing a four lane road, inaugurated in recent time, Abdul Matin, director general of Rural Development Academy, said the road condition deteriorated soon after inauguration, and it was kept operational through repair.
"What type of road have they constructed? Why did they not get punished?" he said.