Taxpayers will be able to file their tax returns online in the next fiscal year, the National Board of Revenue said yesterday.
“As a citizen, you will no longer need to visit us to file your tax returns,” NBR Chairman Md Ghulam Hussain said at a press briefing, organised to announce the e-filing scheme.
The move, the revenue authority said, will enhance transparency and accountability in tax filing and ensure higher compliance.
Currently, less than 1 percent of the population pays income tax regularly, although the NBR is of the belief that the country has 60 lakh people with taxable incomes. Of them, nearly 15 lakh have TINs now.
The NBR introduced online registration for TIN in July last year to ease taxpayers’ hassles and clean its previous TIN database, which suffered from duplication and many fake TINs.
Earlier, the NBR in its two field offices Large Taxpayers Unit and Tax Zone-8 took initiatives to facilitate online tax return submission.
But the schemes failed to attract an increasing number of taxpayers for their limitations and lack of efforts by the taxmen to address those shortcomings.
NBR Chairman Hussain said the past steps were taken in isolated manners, but the latest project aims for automation of the whole income tax administration centrally, with a soft loan from the Asian Development Bank.
FPT Information System, a Vietnamese firm, will develop the integrated income tax administration system for the NBR at a cost of Tk 51 crore.
As part of the contract, the company will provide support services to NBR from 2015 to 2018.
Hussain said e-filing of tax returns will facilitate better services by taxmen and address taxpayers’ complaints of rent-seeking behaviour and dilly-dallying at tax offices.
The tax officials will deal with only complex cases.
“For general taxpayers, the system will be enough,” he said, adding that automation would also allow NBR to expand the tax net.
The integrated tax administration system will have interfaces with two other departments under the NBR—customs and VAT—to enable taxmen to gather and exchange information among departments, Hussain said.
The system will also have interfaces with national trade portal developed by the commerce ministry, Export Promotion Bureau, Office of Chief Controller of Import and Export and Bangladesh Bank.
The NBR plans to develop the system in a way that taxpayers can pay taxes using debit or credit cards of any bank.
The project is expected to be complete by the end of next year, Hussain said, adding that the NBR will roll out the e-filing system on a pilot basis in some field offices within the next eight to nine months.
The NBR also plans to float tender for $60 million worth VAT online project next month, aiming to award the contract by June next year. The NBR aims to bring nearly 20 lakh people into the tax net in four years and increase the area for withholding taxes to boost income tax receipts in the coming fiscal years.
Vietnam’s Ambassador Nguyen Quang Thuc and NBR’s Member and Project Director Kalipada Halder were also present.