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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tax rebates to be under close scrutiny

The Financial Express : Tax rebates to be under close scrutiny to help boost revenue

Finance Minister AMA Muhith said Tuesday the collection target of tax-revenue will be fixed at an amount as much as Tk 600 billion for the upcoming budget while placing the issue of widening the direct-tax net on top of the policy agenda.
He also hinted at slashing the earning target of overall tax-revenue by Tk 5.0 billion to Tk 10 billion in the revised budget for fiscal 2008-09.

"The total collection target of tax-revenue -- both from the National Board (NBR) and non-NBR sources -- was fixed earlier at about Tk 560 billion for the current fiscal. And it will be fixed at least at Tk 600 billion for the FY 2009-10," the minister said.

He was addressing a pre-budget discussion meeting with chairman in-charge of the NBR Nasir Uddin Ahmed and other senior officials of the revenue administration at the Board conference room.

The finance minister told the meeting that necessary strategies would also be devised in the next budget for achieving the government's revenue target.

"Since the scope of raising revenue from import stage is declining gradually following the compliance with the WTO' (World Trade Organisation) rules on rationalising customs duties, there is no alternative but to boost revenue from direct tax," Mr Muhith said.

He observed that there was a need for rationalising the existing tax rebate facilities to help boost the government's revenue income.

Besides, there is an urgent need for eliminating corruption from the tax collection systems, he said.

Also laying emphasis on simplification of the government's tax payment system, especially the income tax, the finance minister said the government has initiated a move to introduce 'online tax-return submission' system from the next fiscal year to this effect.

At the meeting, the finance minister was informed about the ongoing and proposed reform programmes -- Modernisation and Automation Project (MAP) and Revenue Administration Modernisation Project (RAMP) -- under the NBR.

Mr Muhith said instead of such reform programmes, there is a necessity to make the existing tax-related laws more time bound and easier for the taxpayers.

The acting NBR chairman told the meeting that the Board collected tax revenue amounting to Tk 350.80 billion until March of the current fiscal, which was nearly 12 per cent higher than that of the matching period of FY 2007-08.

Of the total, collection of income tax was worth Tk 81.80 billion during the last July-March period, reflecting a 21.13 per cent growth over the same period of last fiscal.

Dr. Nasir Uddin said: "Hopefully, we will be able to achieve the tax-revenue target of Tk 545 billion for FY 2008-09."



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