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24th-Jun-2015

Forcing abuse of tax laws is no ‘push’ for economic growth

By Editorial Desk

Under pressure from the Finance Ministry, the income-tax officials are creating panic by attaching bank accounts directly without caring to follow the relevant laws or procedures. There is no government to realize that the stronger the bureaucracy the weaker is the economy.
A Division Bench of the High Court Division of the Hon'ble Supreme Court accepted a writ petition last Sunday and issued show cause for asking a bank to pay the income-tax authority the claimed amount of income-tax from the account  of the account holder though a dispute is pending before the appropriate authority for a decision.
Finance Minister Mr. AMA Muhith while explaining his budget said he wanted to give "big push" to the country's economy. But pushing the economy to higher growth does not mean pestering or overburdening the tax-payers. The economy grows by productive economic activities. When money flies out of the country then the economic prospects are bleak. Mr. Muhith is of no help where real push is necessary to change politics.
Under different circumstances, tax laws allow Appeal and Tribunal to go through before finality is reached about any income-tax claim. Thereafter, the aggrieved party can also go for a reference to the High Court Division of the Hon'ble Supreme Court.
But some officials working under unreasonable pressure felt obliged to exercise power arbitrarily by resorting to attaching bank accounts and ordering banks to realize income-tax before the matter has been finally decided.
As it is, most of the tax-payers have difficulties in one way or the other for the complexity of the income-tax law though most of them are anxious to be on the right side of the law.
The government should be more concerned to find ways  of getting  back thousands of crore taka from those who robbed  and plundered public money from banks and otherwise. They are safe and happy with their money kept safely away under protection from within.
Such arbitrary acts of asking bank directly to pay a claimed amount of tax without giving the account holder a chance to explain are bound to create a sense of insecurity among the account holders in banks. In some cases, the tax officials do not even bother to inform the account holder.
It is forgotten that there are other modes of realizing income-tax money before touching the bank accounts causing immediate hindrance to banking transactions at national and international levels in some cases.
The incidents of large sums of money looted away from the banks has already weakened the people's confidence about safety of their money in the banks. Final damage is being done by income-tax officials exercising control over depositors' money. It will create an overall uncertain situation for the banking sector.
There are newspaper reports explaining that for the uncertain political situation a lot of people are not depositing their money in the country's banks and huge amounts of money are going out of the country to be kept in Swiss and other foreign banks.
Nobody will be surprised if insecurity of money in banks results in greater flight of capital from the country.
The observers do not disagree that tax must be collected and people not paying income-tax should not be condoned. But creating crisis unnecessarily for the genuine tax-payers should also not be the easy way with the tax officials. They must also keep in mind the pressure of the country's economic distress on taxable people.
The present depressed economy is not the creation of the tax-payers. The tax-payers also complain that the government cannot ignore people are subjected to pay extortion money and bribe in every step of the way for anything being done. Those who do not know how to become millionaire overnight, life is already full of pitfalls and pains for them.
As the view being expressed by the economists that the much needed money for accelerated development can come by way of foreign investments, but there the government is failing. The government's revenue will increase if confidence for productive economic activities can be spurred by positive policies. The government is proving incapable of reviving the country's economy and unwilling to listen to others for ending confrontational politics and restoring public peace and accountability.