The tax revenue collection recorded an impressive 21 per cent growth in the fiscal year (FY) 2020-21 over that of the previous FY.
Greater mobilisation of corporate and withholding tax made the feat possible on the part of the National Board of Revenue (NBR), the NBR data show. However, the collection fell short of the target by Tk.411.18 billion, set for the last FY.
The NBR collected Tk2.61 trillion in tax revenue in FY 2020-21against the revised target of Tk 3.01 trillion.
The updated data for the last FY was placed before National Board of Revenue (NBR) chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem in a meeting on Thursday last.
Though the collection fell short of the target, tax officials and economists have appreciated the NBR's efforts for registering higher internal revenue under a very difficult situation.
The tax collection growth was two-fold in FY '21 against its average growth of 10 per cent during the last FYs.
The customs wing posted the highest 27.41 per cent growth last FY followed by income tax 20 per cent and VAT 15.44 per cent.
In FY 2019-20, the customs and VAT wings had posted a negative growth of 4.48 per cent and 3.11 per cent respectively while the income tax grew by only 3.99 per cent.
The VAT wing collected highest revenue worth Tk 975.07 billion, followed by income tax and travel tax Tk 867.2 billion and customs wing Tk 771.50 billion.
The original target for the last FY was Tk 3.30 trillion, which was later revised down to Tk 3.01 trillion.
In FY 2019-20, the NBR collected Tk 2.18 trillion, registering a negative growth.
Talking to the FE, a field-level commissioner said that the economy has started learning to live with the pandemic that is showing no sign of an early exit.
Tax collection usually grows in line with the rising consumption of goods, use of services and implementation of development projects, he said.
The fiscal measures also helped boosting the tax revenue collection, he added.
He said there is a misperception that tax collection growth was not effort-based as the withholding tax contributes significant part, but the taxmen needed to monitor proper depository of taxes to the public exchequer by deducting authority, he added.
The taxmen's all-out effort is the major reason of the impressive revenue collection growth last FY, he said.
The opportunity to disclose undeclared money has also contributed a significant part of the collection, he added.
Finance adviser to the last caretaker government Dr Mirza Azizul Isam, however, found the revenue collection growth 'surprising'.
"I have doubt about the collection data as it is not mutually consistent with other economic indicators, including the GDP growth," he said.
He said the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) revised the GDP growth downward and the import growth was not satisfactory in the whole year.
The BBS estimated that the country achieved 5.47 per cent growth in FY 21 against the government's target to attain a lofty 8.2 per cent growth.
According to the Bangladesh Bank (BB) data, import payments did not increase significantly in FY'21 compared to the pre-Covid fiscal year (FY'19).
However, imports grew nearly 20 per cent year-on-year, following significant rise in the month of June, 2021.
Officials, however, said the advance tax at import stage of major revenue-generating items was one of the major reasons behind the higher revenue growth last year.