Some modules of the e-filing system will be launched by the last week of September, NBR chairman says
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) was scheduled to launch its tax return system under the income tax wing and bond management automation project of the customs wing by July-August which has now been delayed by another month.
“The revenue board will launch this e-filing system that features a number of modules in the last week of September,” NBR chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem confirmed in a press briefing.
He said: “We had to delay the implementation of the automation project due to the Covid crisis. Now we are focusing on the progress of project implementation at the mainstream tax system for achieving the economic goal and soon all the wings of the NBR will adopt the automation for providing transparent and hassle-free services to taxpayers.”
“Now we are working on the development of technical human resources so that they can ensure the benefits of full automation of the tax system for taxpayers,” he added.
With the system being introduced in September, the Income Tax Department of NBR has already made almost all the preparations.
Through this e-filing process, the NBR system will make returns as soon as the working taxpayers give the name of their organization and bank. Then they can pay the tax money while sitting in the comfort of their own home.
Income tax returns can be filed till November 30. Taxpayers usually pay more in October and November. Initiatives have been taken to launch the system by September so that returns can be submitted online this season, sources at NBR said.
Earlier, NBR stepped in to stop the misuse of tax rebates on savings certificates. It connected with the database of the National Savings Directorate (NSD) and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) through an application programming interface (API) to verify the savings certificates investment and vehicle information shown in the tax returns.
Regarding the slow online projects, former caretaker government's finance adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam told Dhaka Tribune earlier that it is often seen that many decisions are not implemented due to the lack of coordination among government agencies, but they are eventually done very slowly.
“The time extension for the implementation of online projects raised questions about the NBR’s capability of adopting the automation system,” he added.
The revenue board has been implementing a number of projects to make its income tax, value-added tax and customs wings fully online since 2011, but has missed deadlines to execute the projects.
Earlier in December 2011, the board launched the Bangladesh Integrated Tax Administration System, the first such project of the NBR, to facilitate the online tax returns filing system.
It implemented the project in November 2016, but the project failed to achieve its goal due to technical problems. The NBR ended the project on November 29, 2019, due to the failure.
The NBR also introduced an electronic fiscal device management system, aiming to maintain transparency to the sales record at shops in the country.
Back in 2018, NBR took the initiative to set up free electronic fiscal devices (EFD) in shops across the country to ease the collection of taxes. But only 3,393 shops in the country had EFDs as of August.
The VAT online project was formally launched in 2013 and Vietnamese firm FPT Information System is providing technical support, including the development of the software for implementing the project.
The bond management automation project was scheduled to be introduced in July 2021. The project was launched in 2017.
The National Single Window Project under the customs wing started its journey in April 2019. It is yet to be fully implemented.
The official said that the VAT (value-added tax) online project was one of the top priority reform projects of the government and the project was jointly funded by the government and the World Bank.
The success of the new VAT and Supplementary Duty Act 2012 largely depends on the full implementation of the project.
The system is aimed at automating VAT administration as well as integrating it with other relevant entities like businesses and banks.
The system offers online VAT registration and returns facilities, provides A Challan system and an online payment system.
The official said that the NBR made online payment of VAT mandatory above Tk1 crore.
Besides, payment of customs duties and taxes irrespective of the amount will come under the mandatory e-payment system from January 2022.