Tax profiles of members of Bangladesh's trade bodies, commercial organizations and associations are now under scanner as the revenue authority is checking if they submit tax-payment returns, officials say.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has asked field-level tax offices to collect and furnish the business-body members' tax return-submission proof by January 30, 2023-as taxmen believe many skip the compliance.
In the Finance Bill 2022, the government has made Proof of Submission of Tax return (PSR) mandatory to obtain and continue membership of trade bodies or professional organizations.
However, PSR is an acknowledgement receipt of tax return that does not contain confidential or income or asset details of a taxpayer.
The NBR has sought members' lists of the apex chamber, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) and other chambers.
In a recent letter signed by Second Secretary Nusrat Hassan, the NBR also sought members' directory of Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB), Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association (BMBA), and the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB).
Talking to the FE, FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin said submission of taxpayer's identification number (TIN) certificate of each of the voters of the chamber is made mandatory now.
He said the federative body of business chamber of Bangladesh has yet to make tax-return certificate or PSR mandatory for all members.
The FBCCI chief, however, alleges that the NBR takes such steps "without discussing with businesses, causing unusual hassle".
Tax officials say as per the income-tax ordinance all of the trade chambers are supposed to submit tax returns.
Acknowledging receipt of the NBR letter, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Rizwan Rahman said the matter needs to be discussed with the chamber leaders first before sending such letter.
"The chambers will have to look into its executive authority to seek such PSR from its members," he adds.
He appreciates the NBR step to expand tax net in such way but thinks that such task is taxmen's job.
Taxmen said many of the trade-association members do not submit tax returns despite being well-off.
Currently, only 2.4 million taxpayers submit tax returns out of over 8.0 million TIN holders, while economists say many potential taxpayers remain out of the tax net.