Individual taxpayers in large numbers did not submit their income tax returns until Sunday, the penultimate day for submitting the same, according to sources at the National Board of Revenue (NBR).
The deadline for submitting returns ends today (Monday).
Officials, however, said that the number of returns they have received until yesterday was more than that of the last year. Yet it was below their expectation.
The NBR did expect a greater response as the submission of returns by all 5.0 million Taxpayers Identification Number (TIN) holders has been mandatory, barring a few exceptions, from this fiscal year.
Sources said little more than 25 per cent of the individual taxpayers filed their income tax returns until November 26, only four days before the deadline.
The NBR received 1.3 million returns with Tk 23.87 billion in taxes by then as compared 1.2 million returns with Tk 25.80 billion in taxes in the corresponding period of last fiscal year.
Addressing a press briefing on Sunday, the NBR chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem made it clear that the deadline would not be extended.
However, he said the taxpayers can seek additional time for submission of the returns. The taxpayers will also get special consideration on the logical ground if they fail to submit the returns within the deadline.
The press briefing was organised at the NBR premises ahead of the National Tax Day-2020 to be observed today (Monday).
Under the existing Income Tax Ordinance-1984, the taxpayers have to count a penalty of 2.0 per cent per month in case of their failure to submit the returns within the deadline.
The tax commissioners are, however, empowered to consider the difficulties of the taxpayers, said the chairman. The NBR has instructed the officials to accept all the time petitions openly and remain flexible in imposing a penalty for the delays in filing returns, he added.
He also pointed out that the imposition of penalty is not mandatory. It is the discretionary power of the commissioners.
The deputy commissioner of taxes (DCT) is empowered to extend the date of return submission up to two months from the date of application on a case-to-case basis, and may further extend it by another two months with the approval of the joint commissioner.
The NBR received 63,199 more returns until November 26 this fiscal year than that of the corresponding period of previous FY.
The NBR chairman expressed the frustration that although the time for submission of tax returns starts from July 1, the people wait until the eleventh hour.
"Extension of the deadline would be futile as some people avoid filing the returns despite having the TIN," he said and warned of taking stern action against the defaulters.
Responding to a question by journalists whether the pandemic situation would be considered, the NBR chairman said the outbreak of the Covid has been there for more than eight months and all the economic activities are now going on.
The NBR will consider the situation on a case-to-case basis if anybody faces such problems, he added.
NBR member (income tax policy) Alamgir Hossain said that usually a huge number of taxpayers file returns in the last two days of the deadline.
In the last fiscal year, the NBR received 2.2 million tax returns from the individual taxpayers.