Suja Hossain, a Titas Gas official, is a regular taxpayer. He has been doing so for the last 15 years, but with difficulties. Now things have become much easier for him, thanks to the NBR for organising the Tax Fair.
An excited Hossain rushed to the Officers’ Club premises on Monday morning, the very first hour of this year’s Tax Fair. He is glad that he has been able to pay the tax in a hassle-free manner during the fair, arranged for the third year in row by the National Board of Revenue (NBR).
“In the past it (taxpaying) involved various difficulties. Once we had to visit the officials concerned time and again to move the forms and files from one table to another. But here in the fair, it’s only a matter of an hour,” Suja Hossain told UNB at the Tax Fair on Monday.
“If you miss the Tax Fair, you’ll surely fall in the trap set by the tax officials. They’ll demand money to move the files. And it’ll take a lot of time and labour,” said Hossain, 49, an assistant manager of Titas Gas.
Asked whether the taxpaying in general has improved over the times, Suja said the taxpaying has become friendlier than before.
“I remember it was taxing to pay tax even five-six years back. There was a provision for late fine. You had to count the fine of Tk 2,500 a day for the delay. I fell in a great trouble in 2009 when I failed to pay the tax in due time due to a serious illness,” he recalled.
“I was bed-ridden for four months. When I went to the tax officials they claimed I’ll have to pay about one lakh taka as the late fine. It was hard to make them understand the valid reasons of my sickness,” he said, “They understood…only after I paid them Tk 1,000.”
He recommended that the taxpaying could be made easier for the working people like him. “The tax of service holders can easily be deducted from their salary, rather than keeping a separate procedure.”
Among the visitors during the first few hours of the first day of the Tax Fair in the capital, most were service holders like Suja Hossain.
Moshiur Rahman, who works for Grameen Shakti, a non-government organisations, said he along with all his taxpaying colleagues have been availing themselves of the opportunity of the easier re-registration at the Tax Fair over the last three years.
“I started paying tax five years back. In the beginning, it involved hassles and bribes. Now the fair is kind of a relief for the service holders - we’re not facing the corrupt officials anymore,” he said.
Tanzina Kader, a teacher of Sidheshwari Girls’ High School, was also filling the re-registration forms along with some of her colleagues. She also raised complaints that the procedure at the NBR office was very harassing to people like her.
Tanzina said it would have been better if the clearance certificate to the taxpayer had also been given during the fair.
“Although the procedure is much easier in the fair, you still need to get the clearance certificate sometimes later from the revenue office. So, a very small part of the taxpaying procedure still remains in the hands of the officials. We still have to undergo a bit of hassles to get the certificate,” she added.