The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has now decided to initiate legal proceedings against field-level VAT officials if they are found involved in tampering with the data of Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) or Sales Data Controller (SDC).
The action will be taken immediately after the NBR detects the involvement of VAT officials in such irregularities. The NBR high-ups will conduct field visits to find out the anomalies.
The NBR will take action in case of businesses having EFD or SDC selling products without being connected to the EFD management system (EDMS), issuing their own sales invoices or issuing sales invoices after tampering with data of the EFD or SDC.
In such cases, the VAT officials concerned will be held responsible for their negligence.
NBR chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem took the decision in a recent meeting on EFDMS at the NBR office, sources said. In three phases, the NBR distributed EFDs among 1,240 organisations and SDCs among 62 businesses until January 17 last.
To popularise the use of EFDs, the NBR offered cash prizes through lottery of the EFD-generated invoices.
Meanwhile, some retail shops have complained to the field-level VAT offices about the slow pace of issuance of invoices from the SDC, caused by the problem in network and synchronisation.
Almas, Tangail Saree Kutir, Dark Music Café, Bokhara, Salam Kitchen, and Kolapata Restaurant have lodged complaints in this regard to their respective field-level VAT offices, according to officials.
To improve the situation, the NBR has taken an initiative to add keyboards and monitors to 6,000 devices, said the officials.
It has been alleged that willful negligence on the part of a section of field-level VAT officials is one of the main reasons behind the poor VAT collection.
The NBR, for the first time, has now come up with the decision to punish its officials over the non-compliances by the businesses.
As per the VAT and Supplementary Duty Act-2012, the NBR can impose a fine of Tk 20,000 to Tk 50,000 on the businesses for non-compliances relating to the EFD or SDC. In case of repetition of such offences, the VAT authorities can lock the offender's BIN.
The NBR has a target to install 10,000 EFDs/SDCs in shops, outlets and businesses by June 30 next.
A senior NBR official said the EFD is still running on trial basis and its performance would be assessed on the basis of feedbacks from the businesses.
At least some 10,000 EFDs/SDCs will be distributed among the businesses free of charge, he said.
According to the Bangladesh Shop Owners Association, there are some 2.2 million small- and medium-sized shops across the country.
Installation of EFDs is not mandatory for the businesses with annual sales less than Tk 5.0 million.
However, president of the association Helal Uddin previously alleged that the NBR officials are not following the exemption ceiling rule and are forcing the small shops to install EFDs and issue a certain number of invoices.