NBR faces uphill battle in achieving VAT collection target

UNB | Tuesday, 20 April 2021

With just over 41 per cent VAT collection target met in the first seven months of this fiscal year, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) is mounting pressure on its field offices to boost the collection to shore up revenues amid the challenges posed by the pandemic.

It has asked the offices to attain the target keeping the present situation in mind and put emphasis on establishing intensive communication with the big companies.

In the 2020-21 fiscal budget, the total revenue collection from VAT wing was fixed at Tk 1.27 trillion. But until January this year, the collection has been Tk 530.81 billion, which is only 41.55 per cent.

No Smooth Sailing

The VAT collection target from the import level was Tk 455.54 billion. But till January of this year, the NBR has been able to collect Tk 196.59 billion. In January, the collection was Tk 29.52 billion.

In the first seven months of the last fiscal, the collection was Tk 178.14 billion while the collection in the month of January 2020 was Tk 26.76 billion.

It means the growth on a month-to-month basis is 10.32 per cent while it is 10.35 per cent considering the collection of the first seven months of the two fiscals.

On the other hand, the target for VAT collection from the local level was Tk 821.92 billion. But till January of this year, the NBR collected Tk 334.22 billion where in the month of January the amount was Tk 55.66 billion.

The collection till January 2020 was Tk 341.47 billion while the collection in January last year stood at Tk 50.71 billion.

It shows that the growth on a month-to-month basis is 9.76 per cent while it experienced negative growth of 2.12 per cent considering the collection of the first seven months of the two fiscals.

Covid Hits Revenue Collection

A senior official of the NBR said that the situation during the pandemic is not very conducive for revenue collection with sizeable growth.

"We're all aware of the situation, this might prevail or improve. Whatever it is, we've to step forward with necessary actions to attain the target," he said.

He mentioned that good communication with large companies that usually give a significant amount of VAT would be a better tool for enhanced revenue collections.

He said that officials would have to depend on items like cigarettes, mobile, bank, bKash, internet and medicine, which pay higher revenue to the national exchequer.

The NBR also asked its officials to take necessary precautionary and safety measures for protecting themselves from coronavirus while discharging their duties. The respective commissioners will monitor the matters in the field level offices.

Besides, the NBR official said that special attention needs to be given on collecting advance VAT and outstanding revenues from various business entities.

Collection Target

According to an official document, at the end of the 7th Five Year Plan, which ended on June 2020, the revenue GDP ratio was to be 16.1 per cent in 2019-20 fiscal after gradual improvement, but the achievement was estimated at 12.7 per cent while it was 9.9 per cent and 9.6 per cent in 2018-19 and 2017-18 fiscals respectively.

The total revenue collection target for the 2020-21 fiscal is Tk 3.78 trillion where the NBR will contribute Tk 3.30 trillion. The revenue from non-NBR sources was estimated at Tk 150 billion, while non-tax revenue at Tk 330 billion.

Of the grand amount for the NBR, Tk 1.03 trillion will come from income, profit and capital tax, while Tk 1.27 trillion will be contributed by VAT, supplementary tax will provide Tk 578.15 billion, Tk 378.07 billion will come from import duty, Tk 550 million from export duty, Tk 36.86 billion from the excise duty and Tk 15.30 billion as other taxes.