People have no money to pay tax, realise people's money from plunderers

16 January 2021

Around Tk 25,230 crore income taxes have remained unrealised for the last nine fiscal years in the country. According to a report in a national daily on Friday, a number of multinational companies, mobile operators, front ranking commercial banks, insurance companies, high officials of financial institutions and business people have evaded the tax by hiding actual incomes and showing losses in businesses during the fiscals from 2011-2012 to 2019-2020.
Being annoyed with the tax offices' arbitrary fixation of taxes, many taxpayers were compelled to move towards the appellate, tribunal and other courts, resulting in non-realisation of taxes for a long period. Even apprehensions are there that the unrealized taxes may not be realised at all.
It has been observed that there are lacks of interest in paying tax, as taxpayers would like to be assured that their money is being used for the right cause. They feel that the tax system is wrecked by age-old corruption as well as tax officials incompetence. Some of the individuals also get demoralised seeing that rich people and big companies are not pay taxes properly.
Moreover, we have seen that all successive governments offered the scope for legalising "undisclosed money" and most of the time, rates were lower than the normal tax rate. Honest taxpayers, who pay taxes on a regular basis, become frustrated seeing such unfair government policies. Also, this encourages many individuals and companies to abstain from paying taxes because they can in future take advantage of a low tax rate when such an amnesty is offered.
It is to be noted that income tax is one of the major components of tax revenue collected by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to provide goods and services to the public. Besides, taxes are also used to spend on education, building and maintaining roads and highways, public transportation, and various public welfare programmes.
We observed that the value added tax (VAT) has always been haphazard. It always hit hard low and middle-income groups following the imposition of VAT on essential commodities including rice, pulse and edible oil.
As we perceive, Bangladesh in no way can be called a truly tax-friendly country for the low and mid-income individuals. The rich and multinational companies always take advantage of some tax loopholes.
Do not talk only about tax. The people need financial help and not pressure for tax. The plunderers have people's money. Force them to return the money stolen.

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