The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has struck three agreements to trace errant landlords and car owners as part of efforts to widen the tax net.
The deals on Application Programming Interface (API) were signed with Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC), Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (DESCO), and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), reports bdnews24.com.
Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, the chairman of NBR, said house owners often hide their identity if they see taxmen looking for them. “We can’t do anything with no evidence to show for it.”
“So we entered API contracts with the DPDC and DESCO to identify the owner of the electricity meters, thus the house owners.”
Muneem said the API contract with BRTA was to exchange information to identify car owners to facilitate tax collection.
In a bid to attract investment in the country, expatriate Bangladeshis have been given the opportunity to include their overseas money and assets in the income tax return without question by paying a 7.15 per cent tax, Muneem said.
Many countries have reaped the benefits of providing an avenue for their expatriates to “invest in the country” and Bangladesh is looking to do the same, he added.
“The overseas banks’ interest rate is lower, so we think our expatriates will take the opportunity.”
He admitted some of the inflowing money could be illegal but added the opportunity is solely for “expatriates’ investments, not money laundering”.
The NBR chief said the move to expand the tax net was to achieve the target of collecting Tk 3.7 trillion in revenues in the 2022-23 financial year.
To encourage tax return filings, authorities annulled fines to allow citizens to submit their returns at any time of the financial year.
He spoke about developing the economy, promoting youth entrepreneurship, raising foreign exchange reserves, and diversifying exports through tax exemptions and other avenues.
Muneem said his agency collected over Tk 3 trillion in revenues in the last fiscal year, which was 16.09 per cent more than the preceding financial year, but it fell short by 8.6 per cent against the target.
According to him, it was “not too bad” considering the state of the current global economy.