Customs was one of the biggest avenues for tax evasion, they also say

Bangladesh VAT Bar Association on Thursday urged the government to reform the customs and value added tax (VAT) rates for effective revenue collection in the coming fiscal year 2021-22.

Speaking at a press conference at the National Press Club, the association also said that in the light of legal transparency regarding revenue collection, procedures should be analyzed in different contexts.

Hafizur Rahman, general secretary of VAT Bar Association, said that customs was one of the biggest avenues for tax evasion.

“A few initiatives were taken to install some scanner machines since last financial year to prevent customs duty evasion, but those have not been strengthened,” he said.

He also said that the eight months of the current financial year were lagging, compared to the previous 2019-20 financial year.

Several other policy decisions were taken to increase revenue amid the Covid-19 pandemic, including reducing the tax rate.

“Supervision from the National Board of Revenue was also good. Even though the revenue collection target was not achieved, there was fairly good growth. But with the announcement of the lockdown again, there is a fear of a big deficit in revenue collection in the future,” Hafizur Rahman added.

Md Nurul Azhar, president of the association, echoed his sentiment adding that due to the pandemic, there is not much new investment, while production is also low.

“Covid-19 has reduced people’s purchasing power, while lack of monitoring the mandatory installation of Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs) by the NBR was also absent, which may explain the low revenue collection from VAT,” he elaborated.

The association further recommended proper training of the concerned tax/VAT officers and proper use of IT.

They also stressed on preventing mismanagement of resources, and taking more measures to eliminate the existing budget deficit by introducing greater accountability, transparency and best practice systems.

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