Published in The Independent on Friday, 24 November 2017
Online VAT return submission must for businesses from Jan
From January, all businesses will have to submit value added tax (VAT) online. The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is making this move to ensure transparency and accountability in the VAT system. Rezaul Hassan, the NBR member of VAT administration and director of the VAT Online Project, told The Independent that around eight lakh institutions were registered on the existing system, but only 35,000 used to file returns. “NBR has taken the initiative to ensure transparency and accountability. All VAT activities will be fully automated from January. All the procedures will be completed by the end of this year,” he said.
Since 1991, around eight lakh companies have registered with the old Business Identification Number (BIN). Rezaul said the registration of these companies will be cancelled. They have to renew their registrations under the new system. Already, 61,210 companies have got themselves registered under the new online system.
All VAT-related activities, such as submission of returns and payment of money, will go online from January.
The Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act, 2012 was enacted with the aim to make the VAT system online with the acceptance of the BIN for the submission of VAT returns and payment of money.
Research fellow at Centre for Policy and Dialogue (CPD), Towfiqul Islam Khan, told The Independent that the online VAT system will ensure three things: transparency, an easy and convenient payment system, and time saving.
Citing an example, Khan said that if an organisation has many branches across the country, they will have to collect BIN for each unit in the manual system. But in the online system, a company with many branches will need only one collective BIN number. So, it is a great initiative by the government, he added.
To provide online services to all the organisations, the NBR started the e-BIN programme in March.
It is to be noted that on November 27, 2012, new Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act passed in Parliament. After the implementation of the new law, on October 8, 2013, ECNEC (Executive Committee of the National Economic Council), approved VAT online project. At that time the project cost was Tk 551 crore.
It is to be noted that the NBR has fixed the target of collecting revenue worth Tk 91,344 crore for the current fiscal year, which is 32.93 per cent more than the previous year.