NBR set to ease tax refund over excess payment

Small taxpayers face hassle, never get the money back

Doulot Akter Mala | Published: March 10, 2019 09:37:35 | Updated: March 14, 2019 10:41:16

Marginal taxpayers are set to get a maximum refund of Tk 25,000 directly from the taxmen in case they pay in excess of the payable amount.

The move came after a National Board of Revenue (NBR) committee recently recommended that taxmen ease the process of tax refund and issue cheque containing the amount of refund.

Tax officials have decided to resolve the complexities of cash refund to the small taxpayers and give them back extra payment within 15 days of their application, officials said.

Currently, getting refund voucher from the taxmen is a time-consuming process and it involves harassment.

Many of the taxpayers alleged that they never claimed tax refund from the tax authority fearing unforeseen hassles and interrogation.

The board's income tax wing will settle the issue with the Controller General of Accountants (CAG) on accounts and audit process of tax refund.

Officials said that the NBR committee had recommended simplifying the procedures so that taxpayers could get back their taxes paid in excess of the payable amount.

With the widened base of withholding tax, many of the taxpayers do pay taxes at source higher than that of their payable ones.

Depositors with banks, irrespective of housewives or senior citizens, have to pay 10 to 15 per cent tax at source on their profit gain.

A senior NBR official acknowledged that fear-factor keeps taxpayers from seeking the tax refund from the officials.

Now, taxpayers will be able to encash the refund or directly deposit it to their respective bank accounts as soon as they get back the cheque from revenue officials, he added.

Currently commercial banks need Bangladesh Bank's clearance to encash the taxpayer's refund voucher. Also, income tax commissioner, who issues the voucher, will have to send an advice note to the central bank asking for permission for tax refund.

The process takes time as BB verifies the authenticity of refund voucher, advice note and signature of taxpayer to allow tax refund against the voucher.

An NBR official said taxpayers have to face hassle in collecting voucher from the taxmen as some of the tax offices show their reluctance to send advice note the central bank.

Also, the process of refund largely depends on BB's speedy disposal, he added.

He said the large taxpayers get refund of their taxes paid extra or adjust it with the payable tax of the next year easily, which is not the case for their small and marginal counterparts.

Of the total amount of tax refund, large taxpayers are supposed to get 98 per cent while their marginal counterparts get 2.0 per cent.

In a letter to the NBR, the Comptroller and Auditor General's office, however, said the refund giving process could remain unchanged as account keeping process is the same for both refund cheque and voucher.

Salma Huq, a housewife, said the government is deducting a substantial amount of taxes from the profit gain on bank deposits.

"I have no taxable income and taxpayers' identification number as well. Getting tax refund seems a cumbersome job for me," she said.

She demanded that the NBR people send the tax refund cheque or voucher to the residence or office addresses of the taxpayers as practised in developed countries.


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