The government will be introducing online submission of Value Added Tax (VAT) returns and payment to provide the taxpayers with a hassle-free system to boost revenue collection.
"Initially, the system will run for six months on a pilot basis and later made permanent," a senior VAT official told UNB.
Companies under the Large Taxpayers' Unit (LTU) can submit their VAT returns online during the preliminary phase.
"After three months, the Customs, Excise and VAT Commissionerate, Dhaka (East) will be linked to the system. Gradually, all the business entities will be brought under the system," he said.
The official, however, could not say anything about the fixed date for the introduction of online VAT submission system.
"The date is yet to be decided," he said.
With this system, the taxpayers will not require to go to VAT offices for submitting their VAT returns as they will be able to do it from anywhere.
As the “National Payment Gateway” under Bangladesh Bank is not yet operational, taxpayers cannot pay their VAT online. Taxpayers will have to continue going to scheduled banks for the “pay order,” whose number is required during the VAT submission process.
According to NBR sources, all listed companies will have their accounting software linked to the VAT online submission server.
Based on available data, around 56,874 business entities and 139 companies under the LTU have taken electronic business identification number (e-BIN), which is mandatory to submit VAT online.
The VAT automation system is being introduced under the VAT and Supplementary Duty project worth Tk551.59cr. The World Bank is financing Tk449.78cr and the remaining cost is coming from local sources.
After full automation, taxpayers will be able to pay their VAT using ATM cards, mobile banking and e-banking services.
A senior NBR official with the VAT wing said the revenue collection authority wants to ease the process of taxpaying.
"Taxpayers will be encouraged if they find the payment system easier for them and we want to ensure the convenient system for them," he said.
He hoped that revenue collection from VAT will see a significant jump in the coming fiscal years after VAT payment has been automated.
The Parliament passed the Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act in 2012 to automate the overall VAT administration to increase revenue collection.
Following the initiative, the taxes authorities undertook the VAT Online Project in 2013 for automation.
Once implemented, the system will connect 287 VAT circle offices, 84 divisional offices, 12 commissionerates, two directorates, three appeal commissionerates and a tribunal on a single platform.
It will also integrate the Bangladesh Bank, the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General and the income tax department of NBR with it.
Once automated, the system will substantially increase government revenue through identifying non-compliant taxpayers.
The revenue target for the NBR for the current fiscal year (2017-18) was set at Tk248,190cr while that of non-NBR tax revenue collection is Tk8,662cr and the target of non-tax revenue collection set at Tk31,179cr.
Of the total revenue target of NBR, Tk91,344cr will come from VAT while Tk86,867cr from income tax and corporate tax, Tk30,153cr from import and export duty and Tk38,212cr from supplementary duty.