Rajshahi rallies for tax | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 15, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 15, 2010

Rajshahi rallies for tax

Abdul Hai, a small cloth-shop owner in Rajshahi, has never submitted any income tax return since the mid-80s. He thought he was no longer running a profitable trade.
Hai, the president of Haragram Bazar Babosayee Samity, who had attended only primary school, believes only those who earn sizeable profits should open tax files.
On the other hand, Abu Bakkar Ali, president of Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, pays tax regularly. He believes very few people are able to pay taxes without harassment.
“Businessmen often complain that they are to spend an extra Tk 1,500 for paying a minimum tax of Tk 1,800,” Ali said.
Sahabuddin Sabu, co-chairman of Rajshahi district unit of Bangladesh Dokan Malik Samity, says: “To me, income tax means paying off lawyers and tax officials alongside the taxes. The tax payment system should be made easy to make sure it is no more than what it takes to get a trade licence."
Amid such responses caused either by lack of awareness or fears of harassment among businesspeople in the northwestern zone, the Income Tax Department observes the National Income Tax Day today in Rajshahi.
Although the day has been observed since 2008, this is the first time Rajshahi division is marking the day.
The Income Tax Department says it is committed to taking the campaign to the grassroots to increase taxpayers' trust and encourage new taxpayers, especially those in rural areas.
“Many village farmers earn higher incomes than smalltime town businessmen, but they do not pay taxes for lack of awareness and fears," said Rokeya Khatun, commissioner of Rajshahi Income Tax Region.
“The main goal of our campaign is to emphasise a service-oriented mindset of tax officials. Under the new system, there is little or no scope of harassment and corruption by the tax officials," she said in a press briefing.
Some 2,778 new taxpayers out of 1.63 crore people in Rajshahi region were included in fiscal 2009-10.
The number of tax payers in eight districts in Rajshahi region increased by 32,000 in the last five years while the amount of money collected through income tax returns increased by Tk 65 crore.
In fiscal 2009-10, 1.42 lakh people paid Tk 185 crore in income tax, compaired to Tk 120 crore paid by one lakh people in 2005-06.
To sensitise people about income tax, a colourful rally will be held this morning, accompanied by elephants and horse-drawn carriages carrying festoons, placards and posters.
The rally will be followed by an awards ceremony for 45 big, long-term taxpayers from the eight districts.
The winners include five of a family from Pabna district. Samson H Chowdhury of Square Group and his sons Tapan Chowdhury and Anjan Chowdhury were adjudged to be the highest taxpayers of 2009-10.

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