The Financial Express

Tax automation can reduce mistrust, boost transparency, say experts

| Updated: October 05, 2022 17:51:20

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Speakers at a webinar have said automation in the tax-collection process of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) can reduce mistrust and corruption, and increase accountability and transparency.

Income tax, value-added tax (VAT) and customs management system of the tax authority need to be more tax-friendly, they say.

Therefore, the experts have underscored the need for speedy completion of various automation activities of the NBR and urged the government to ensure coordination among the three departments.

They were speaking at a webinar organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) on Monday.

Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, Planning Minister MA Mannan said the government was ready to bring reforms in the tax administration.

In this regard, the minister sought help from the experts.

However, speakers expressed their dissatisfaction at the current status of three laws of the NBR. To them, the new VAT law has also been distorted.

Speaking at the webinar, former ICAB president Mohammad Humayun Kabir said there was no inter-departmental connectivity for proper coordination among the three departments.

Former NBR member Md Farid Uddin said online tax payment had made little progress though the issue had been discussed for many years.

Mr Uddin questioned the rationale of the existing 15 per cent VAT rate.

It is necessary to consider how effective VAT will be at 15 per cent rate - although large companies have the opportunity to take rebates, it becomes more than 15 per cent in some cases due to the cascading effect for small companies, he added.

Former NBR member Ranjan Kumar Bhowmik pointed out several inconsistencies and misinterpretations in the latest circulars (directives) issued by the Finance Act and Tax Department.

Due to these misinterpretations, the stock market has been affected recently, he said.

Participating in the discussion, two current members of NBR said creating inter-departmental coordination among the institution was in progress.

Professional accountants Shehasish Barua and Lutful Hadee presented the keynote paper, while NBR members Mohammad Jahid Hasan and Abdul Mannan Skiker spoke, among others.

ICAB President Shahadat Hossain presided over the webinar.

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