National Board of Revenue is planning to launch a comprehensive move to bring more doctors under the income tax net suspecting that a big number of professional physicians remained out of its reach and were evading tax.
Under the move, tax officials will collect information related to income of doctors, visit their chambers and other health service providing entities including hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres, hold motivating meeting with doctors and leaders in the sectors to ensure tax payment in actual amount by physicians.
Tax officials said that many physicians did not have even the electronic taxpayers’ identification numbers while many evade tax through showing inadequate income in their income tax files.
Field level tax office also found evidence of tax evasion by doctors, they said.
Income Tax Zone-10 in Dhaka, which is responsible for collecting tax from physicians practicing in Dhaka, already took some measures including visiting the doctors’ chambers in the fiscal year 2016-2017 to check their tax payment status.
The move brought remarkable results in terms of bringing more physicians under the tax net and collecting income tax from them.
It also found that doctors would be compliant if taxmen could reach them and motivate them properly.
According to the tax office data, the number of income tax returns submission by doctors practicing in the capital increased by 39.52 per cent while the number of e-TIN holders rose by 28 per cent in FY 17 compared with that of previous FY 2016.
Tax payment also witnessed a 30 per cent growth in the year to around Tk 87 crore in the year which was Tk 67 crore a year ago, the data showed.
The number of e-TIN holders stood at 17,735 by the end of the FY 17 which was 13,811 in FY 16. Of them, 14,611 physicians submitted income tax returns in the year against 10,472 filed returns in previous year.
Officials said that though the number of e-TIN holders and taxpayers from the sector increased significantly in the year, a large number of professionals were not still paying tax.
Of the e-TIN holders, 3,124 doctors did not file their tax returns last year, they said.
There are some 86,800 MBBS doctors and dentists registered with the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council, the regulatory body for doctors and medical education.
Some of them may not be now in practice. There is, however, no data of how many are practicing in the capital.
The outcome has encouraged the tax office to chalk out an extensive plan for the sector, a tax official recently told New Age.
He said that they had already identified 589 large health service providing houses for the planned visit for motivating physicians to show actual income in tax returns and pay tax properly.
In addition, activities like preparing a database of doctors, collecting data related to actual income of doctors through visiting chambers, checking registers and adopting other intelligence means and conducting spot assessment to issue e-TINs to new taxpayers would also be continued, he said.
Tax officials would also monitor the tax files to find out whether doctors are showing their income from referral fees, consultancy
fees, number of patients at chambers and fees taken from a patient and other receipts through providing services, he added.
Preparing a database is the top priority as currently the tax authorities do not have any such database which hampers the proper collection of tax from the professional group.
The National Board of Revenue will also take initiative to create awareness among doctors about payment of tax, he added.
The NBR may hold a dialogue with doctors and their professional bodies including Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council in the next week as part of the move.
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