The government has proposed to increase the presumptive taxes on the incomes from road and waterways transports by 25 per cent in the budget for the fiscal year 2019-20.
It has also made submission of income tax returns mandatory for availing the presumptive income tax benefits.
National Board of Revenue officials have said that the proposal for the increased taxes was placed before the Jatiya Sangsad by finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal along with the budget documents.
The NBR will later issue a gazette notification to enforce the tax hike, they said.
The NBR fixes the presumptive taxes based on the passenger- and goods-carrying capacities of road and water transports instead of the actual income of the owner from the business.
The national revenue board increased the taxes the last time five years ago in 2014.
According to an NBR analysis, the transport sector contributes 8.33 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, currently valued at Tk 99,832 crore.
But, the sector contributes to revenue collection very insignificantly, it said.
Currently, the annual presumptive tax rates vary between Tk 3,000 and Tk 30,000 based on the seating and goods-carrying capacity of the vehicles, including buses, trucks, minibuses, human haulers and taxicabs, plying on the road if the vehicles are aged below 10 years from the date of registration.
The rates vary from Tk 1,500 to Tk 15,000 for vehicles aged above 10 years from the date of registration.
The tax rate for the air-conditioned luxury buses not crossing 10 years from the date of registration is Tk 30,000, for buses with seating capacity above 52 persons and trucks and tank-lorries having goods-carrying capacity above five tonnes is Tk 12,500.
The rate for 52-seated buses or less is Tk 9,000, for minibuses and coasters is Tk 5,000, for prime movers engaged in container transportation is Tk 19,000 and non-airconditioned taxicabs is Tk 3,000.
The tax is half for the vehicles aged above 10 years.
For inland water vessels that carry passengers, the current presumptive tax is Tk 100 per passenger, for those that carry cargo the rate is Tk 135 per tonne of goods and for dump barges it is Tk 100 per tonne, if they are aged below 10 years from the date of registration.
The tax is reduced by more than half for the vessels aged above 10 years from the date of registration.
Entrepreneurs in the sectors told New Age that the proposed tax hike would affect the sector.
They also said that the measure would not affect the passengers and the good transportation businesses as the presumptive tax was income tax on the owners.
Bangladesh Road Transport Association secretary-general Khandker Enayet Ullah on Monday told this newspaper that they would request the government not to raise the tax rates considering the negative impact on the sector.
Now, the vehicle owners pay the tax during fitness renewals but many of them may try to avoid the tax due to the increases in the amounts.
There are more than 3 lakh transports, including buses and trucks, plying in the country, he said.
Bangladesh Inland Waterways Passenger Carrier Association senior vice-chairman Badiuzzaman Badal said that the NBR made the proposal after consultation with the sector leaders.
The launch owners pay the tax as income tax and don’t pass over the tax to passengers, he said, adding that they did not hike the fare in the last five years fearing loss of passengers.
He, however, requested the government not to impose VAT on the passengers for travelling in air-conditioned cabin.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country