Use automated chalan or e-transfer
From the current fiscal year, taxpayers will be required to pay taxes of up to Tk 5 lakh through automated chalans or electronic transfers.
So, if a taxpayer is accustomed to paying taxes through pay orders or cheques, they may have to switch to automated chalans, according to a new rule introduced by the National Board of Revenue (NBR).
Various taxmen and officials of Finance Division said the government issued this rule in order to plug up scopes of using fake pay orders or treasury chalans, thereby ensuring that the money goes directly to the state coffer.
This move will help solve the longstanding problem of discrepancies arising in tax collection data reported by the NBR and the Office of the Controller General of Accounts (CGA).
Besides, the facility to pay taxes through automated chalans or electronic transfers will be helpful for taxpayers, they added.
"Taxpayers will be able to use the automated chalan services through mobile apps, debit or credit cards, and through mobile financial services," said a senior official of the Finance Division.
However, if anyone wants to pay their tax over a bank counter, they can also do that, he added.
There are 35 banks in the country which have already joined the government's efforts to introduce automated chalans that allow taxpayers to deposit taxes, government fees and other payments through digital means.
"We expect the remaining banks to join us as well," he said.
This decision will reduce the hassles of the taxpayers, according to Jasim Uddin Rasel, a tax consultant.
"When public movement is restricted amid the recurring nationwide lockdowns due to Covid-19, this method of paying taxes will undoubtedly give a positive signal to taxpayers," he said. However, the tax authorities will have to take a few steps to secure the benefits, Rasel added.
An NBR official said the measure would curb the scope of using fake pay orders and chalans.
Rasel went on to say that the pressure on individual taxpayers increases during the income tax fair, especially on the final day to file tax returns on November 30, known as Tax Day.
"On these specific days, the servers will be under a lot of pressure. So, the tax authority should ensure that the servers do not crash on days when taxpayers rush to meet the deadline for being tax compliant," he said.
He also suggested that all banks should be brought under the automated chalan system.
Even mobile financial services have to be brought under this system because only then can the government reap its benefits.
Besides, tax payments will be easier too, Rasel added.
Md Humayun Kabir, chairman of taxation and the corporate laws committee of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh, said any step toward digitalisation was welcomed.
But since all taxpayers may not have access to digital devices, banks could consider opening service desks at branches for those who do not have access to the internet, he said last month.