Leaders of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry on Thursday said that the new income tax act that would be formulated to replace the existing one should not be a weapon for harassing the businesses instead it should be convenient and business friendly.
They came up with the suggestion while speaking at a discussion on formulation of new income tax act organised by the apex trade body at its auditorium in Dhaka.
FBCCI president Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin presided over the discussion where National Board of Revenue chairman Md Nojibur Rahman, its members Parvez Iqbal and Abdur Razzak and FBCCI vice-president Md Muntakim Ashraf were present, among others.
Mentioning the necessity of tax collection for the country’s development, Mohiuddin said that the tax collection should be done based on mutual cooperation and the process should be hassle-free.
‘We don’t want to see use of any weapon or force in doing so,’ he said.
Pointing out to eight specific suggestions for formulating new income tax act, Mohiuddin said the discretionary power of income tax officials should be curbed as taxpayers face hassles due to excessive exercise of power by the officials and that results in an increased number of cases in the tribunal and in the higher courts.
For neutral and fair judgment, the tax appellate tribunal should be brought under the law ministry instead of the NBR to make the tribunal free from NBR’s influence, the FBCCI president said.
He also demanded scrapping a provision that requires submission of 25 per cent of the disputed tax for appealing at the tribunal and hassle-free return of overpaid tax amount.
FBCCI director Priti Rani said that the government should change its philosophy regarding collecting tax. Tax should be collected based on income first and then tax, she said.
Khondker Ruhul Amin, another director of the country’s apex trade body, said that the tax collection should be hassle free as like the services provided by the revenue board at the income tax fair.
‘We notice that the scenario changes when we come to income tax offices,’ he added.
Hayder Ahmed, a chartered accountancy professional, said that the assessment year and income year should be changed as it created problem for the businesses.
‘Any short of change in corporate tax in the finance bill implies with retrospective effect when an entity has already paid dividend to its shareholders based on the earnings. That’s why it should be changed,’ he said.
He also requested the government to clarify turnover tax issue in the act that would be formulated.
Speaking on the harassment issue, Nojibur said that the revenue board had taken a number of initiatives in this regard so that a friendly atmosphere could be created between the taxpayers and tax officials.
The NBR chairman said the government had already downgraded one of the NBR officials as punishment for harassing taxpayers.
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