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NBR hopeful of mainstreaming offshore assets

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 8 August, 2022 12:00 AM
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NBR hopeful of mainstreaming offshore assets

National Board of Revenue (NBR) again defended the much-talked about amnesty for investment from undisclosed offshore assets.

It said the decision will strengthen the country’s foreign exchange reserves and overall economic activities.

“We never talked about black money. We say that the idle savings of Bangladeshis abroad can be mobilised through investment at home for expanding economic activities,” said NBR chairman Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem.

At a media briefing at NBR head office in Dhaka on Sunday, he also said, “It will help to increase income tax payer indirectly and boost foreign currency reserves as well.”

NBR chief believed that the amnesty for offshore assets will help the forex reserves stay strong.

The government took the initiative to open a path for offshore assets come back to Bangladesh’s economy as Finance Minister Mustafa Kamal proposed a 15 percent tax on immovable property located abroad, and a 10 percent tax on movable property.

The budget also proposed 7 percent tax on remittances coming into Bangladesh. The privilege will remain in effect from July 2022 to June 2023.

In his speech, NBR chairman mentioned that the national exchequer made a record collection of Tk 3.02 trillion revenue in fiscal year 2021-22.

Of the amount, income tax represents 33 percent of total collection while internal taxes are 38 percent and other duties 29 percent.

“We want to make the income tax as major source of revenue. NBR is implementing automated system to ease the tax payment system of individual tax payers,” NBR chairman said.

He reiterated the stance for the local industry expansion saying that the business should focus on manufacturing of heavy industries like automobile as the country is moving forward to a developing one.

Muneem warned that the pharmaceuticals should concentrate on local manufacturing of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API).

Otherwise the medicine sector will face a setback in prices if the developed countries increase price of the ingredients in next four years.

NBR made partnership with a couple of regulatory bodies and banks to assess the financial strength of the tax payers and to include new eligible ones.

“We promote online tax submission of individual tax payers. We will assess the strength of a tax payer through collaboration with different regulatory bodies and organisations like banks, municipalities, utility service providers and car licensing authority,” he said.

He said, “We already have such partnership with BRTA. If any tax payer hides information on ownership of a car, we can identify it easily.”

“Besides, the owners of land and flats are being traced through partnerships with DESCO, WASA and other utility service providers,” he said.

The NBR chairman informed that out of the overall revenue collection by the NBR in the last fiscal, Tk 894.23 billion came from customs with 15.9 percent growth and Tk 1.08 trillion came from VAT with 11.9 percent growth.

The rest of Tk 1.04 trillion was collected in income tax and travel tax sectors at 21.79 percent growth.

Talking about fulfilling the revenue collection target in the current fiscal year, he said that efforts would be there to collect more revenues through expanding the income tax net.

The NBR chairman said since in the budget income tax return submission has been made mandatory to avail various government certificates, the initiative is expected to expand the tax net significantly in the current fiscal year.

NBR members Abdul Mannan Shikder, Shams Uddin Ahmed and Zakia Sultana, among others, were also present.