Feature: Tax fair makes it easier for Bangladeshi citizens to pay taxes
DHAKA, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) — For businessman Abdul Mazid paying taxes was always a hassle.
As a law-abiding citizen, Mazid was willing to pay his taxes but his problem was that he does not know how to compute his taxes and where to pay.
Now all these have been resolved. And small businessmen like Mazid are now paying their taxes.
Having realized the predicament of small taxpayers who could not afford an accountant, the Bangladeshi government has set up a “tax fair” where the state provides a one-stop service to taxpayers.
Thus, Mazid and many others have already visited the tax fair in Dhaka to file their income tax returns.
“I find the fair to be the easiest and most hassle-free way of paying my taxes,” said Mazid.
The tax fair began on Thursday in Dhaka and several other cities in Bangladesh to facilitate taxpayers to pay their taxes and the government to earn more revenues.
“I have dodged paying tax for many years. I thought there would be a lot of trouble in computing my taxes. But at the fair, the staff helped me compute my taxes. All I had to do was to pay,” one first-time taxpayer said.
Rahman Miah, another first time taxpayer, said, “The fair virtually encouraged me to pay tax. Officials extended all-out support to me in calculating my income tax.”
Miah said the officials did not question his income and computed his tax based on the mere information that he gave them. “The personnel in the fair were very courteous and accommodating,” he said.
The annual tax fair is aimed at widening the tax base of the country and to increase the annual revenues of the government.
Last year, officials said, the fair brought to the state coffers a record 16.75 billion taka (212 million U.S. dollars), which was 50 percent higher than the amount collected from the fair in the previous year.
The fair, which has been witnessing a mad rush of taxpayers this year, attracted a record 700,000 new taxpayers last year.
Md Nojibur Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh’s National Board of Revenue (NBR), said that last year only around 1.2 million Bangladeshi citizens filed their income tax returns out of 1.7 million who have taxpayer identification numbers. The figure, according to Rahman, represents a measly 1 percent of the country’ s total population of 160 million.
“Our aim is to bring more people to pay their taxes by providing hassle-free service at the fair,” Rahman aid.
Rahman said that this is the fifth tax fair in Bangladesh since the NBR introduced it in 2010.
Officials said that in Bangladesh there are many potential taxpayers who are willing to pay their taxes but are afraid of the hassle.
Of course, there are those who are perennial tax evaders who refuse to pay their dues to the government even with the hassle- free amenities provided by the NBR.
One NBR official said that the government would be forced to file the tax evasion charges against these tax evaders.