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New tax zones to boost collection: NBR

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Badrul Ahsan :
The National Board of Revenue, as part of its massive expansion plan, has decided to create 17 new income tax zones across the country within next five years with a view to boosting its revenue collections, sources said.
The expansion plan has been adopted, particularly for its income tax wing, to manage the increasing number of taxpayers and provide them with better services in coming years.
However, of the new zones, some of them will be created soon, may be in the next fiscal year, officials of the revenue board said.
Similarly, customs wing will also see substantial expansion activities to deal with increased import and export activities in the country.
Currently, income tax wing has 39 zones across the country and one academy. Of the offices, 33 directly deal with income tax collection.
Officials have said that it has become impossible for the field level tax offices to provide the taxpayers with better and organised services, as the number of taxpayers has remarkably increased in the last few years and continue to increase.
The number of electronic taxpayers' identification number (e-TIN) holders reached about 28 lakh in March from 19 lakh a year ago, they said.
The revenue collection target has also become more than double within the last few years.
By the end of the current fiscal year, the number of e-TIN holders will reach 30 lakh, they hoped.
A high official told The New Nation that some of the existing tax zone became overloaded with the number of taxpayers.
For example, there are two lakh taxpayers under the jurisdiction of Khulna income tax zone.
A tax official has to deal with several thousands of income tax returns which degrade the quality of services, he said.
According to the NBR plan, six regular territorial income tax zones will be set up across the country.
These will deal with income tax collection and processing income tax returns, six Tax Deduction at Source (TDS) zones, three Appeals and Assessment Zone and an Income Tax Intelligence and Investigation Directorate.
Among the new territorial zones, two will be in Dhaka, one each in Chittagong, Faridpur and Jessore, while four TDS zones will in Dhaka and one each in Chittagong and Rajshahi.
Currently, there are 15 territorial zones in Dhaka, four in Chittagong, one each in Khulna, Rajshahi, Bogra, Rangpur, Sylhet, Barisal, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Comilla and Mymensingh.
According to the NBR, around 54 per cent of total income tax collections are source tax, as different public and private agencies deduct the amount during payment of bills, salary and giving bank interest.
But there is no dedicated income tax office to see whether the agencies are deducting the tax properly and depositing in the government exchequer, officials said.
They said that the finance minister had already approved the proposal for creating six TDS zones.
The revenue board will now have to take approval from different ministries, including finance and public administration, to implement the expansion plan, they added.
Similarly, customs wing will also undergo a massive expansion in coming years as the volume of export and import has been rising tremendously.
The NBR has already finalised to split the Dhaka Bond Commissionerate into two and got approval from the public administration ministry to hand smooth services to exporters.
Chittagong Customs House may also be divided into two houses-one for Chittagong port and the other for off-docs and Chittagong airport.

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