The government will consider awarding the status of Commercially Important Person (CIP) to top taxpayers, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said yesterday.
"We will take the necessary steps to give recognition to the top taxpayers with CIP status, after consulting with the finance minister," he said at the inauguration of a weeklong tax fair at Officer's Club in Dhaka.
The National Board of Revenue is organising the show in seven divisional cities and 57 districts to motivate people to pay taxes by extending tax-related assistance to the existing and potential taxpayers.
This is the fifth edition of the income tax fair, which gained popularity among both existing and prospective taxpayers since its introduction in 2010. The event offers scope to complete related formalities and pay taxes on the spot without having to visit the tax offices.
Just like in previous years, hundreds gathered at the fair on the opening day yesterday.
Help desks, booths for online registration of taxpayer's identification numbers, file for tax returns and deposit money to banks either manually or online are some of the services available at the fair.
The NBR organises the event every year to expand its tax net. Currently, 10 lakh people submit their tax returns regularly. But the revenue authority thinks the number should be higher, given that the country has been experiencing steady economic growth, rising income and a growing middle-class.
To encourage tax compliance, NBR introduced tax cards for companies and individuals for paying the highest taxes to the state coffers in a year in addition to honouring long-time and highest taxpayers at the district and city corporation levels.
The tax card provides some privileges such as invitation to government programmes, opportunity to use CIP lounge at airports and priority in booking tickets with the state carrier, trains and water transports.
But CIPs get many more benefits such as access to the Bangladesh Secretariat for a year, government assistance to get visas for other countries, special treatment while meeting high officials at home and abroad and the scope to use VIP lounges at the airports.
Ahmed said the percentage of regular taxpayers is insignificant considering the population of the country. The number of taxpayers should be increased by encouraging people to pay taxes, he said.
"Be careful that nobody gets hurt and frightened when you are collecting taxes. Give them the confidence and trust, so that they feel inspired," he told taxmen.
Md Ghulam Hussain, chairman of NBR, said top taxpayers demanded the CIP status. On the basis of their plea, AMA Muhith, finance minister, asked NBR to take steps.
The NBR rakes in a growing amount of taxes from the annual event; it bagged Tk 1,117 crore in revenue in 2013, up from Tk 831 crore in 2012. Some 1.32 lakh taxpayers submitted returns at the fair last year. In 2012, the number was 97,867.
source: The Daily Star