To tackle tax evasion head-on, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) is pursuing a groundbreaking move—secure access to taxpayers’ bank accounts through the Bangladesh Bank.
This strategic integration aims to monitor money flow while combating illicit practices efficiently.
The NBR is collaborating with the Bangladesh Bank’s VAT Online Project Office on this initiative. Insiders affirm that preparations are underway within the NBR for this collaboration.
Upon completion, banks will no longer be the intermediaries for information. Instead, with the central bank’s green light, the revenue board can directly retrieve data, granting VAT commissioners access via a secure login system powered by a strong OTP password.
While the Bangladesh Bank spokesperson, Md Mezbaul Haque, questions the feasibility of immediate access, the business community is divided. Some fear reduced transactions, while others prioritize transparency.
Former NBR Chairman Dr Muhammad Abdul Mazid and economist Dr Ahsan H Mansur share concerns over breaching banking confidentiality.
The larger picture includes the Medium and Long-term Revenue Strategy, encompassing the issue of revenue administration’s access to taxpayer information.
The committee unveiled this strategy on 24 August in the presence of the NBR chairman. VAT Commissionerate commissioner highlights the dire need for direct bank access. The current system hampers accurate transactional insight.
Acknowledging the enormity of the task, the commissioner envisions risk-based identification of accounts for timely information collection.
Bangladesh Bank’s data showcases 13.62 crore bank accounts and Tk16 lakh crore in deposits by last December, with around 1.10 lakh high-value accounts.
Despite stagnation, the government aims to raise the tax-to-GDP ratio to 12.3% by 2025 through the NBR’s Medium and Long-term Revenue Strategy.
Amid delays, the strategy is expected to be finalized by December, integrating VAT, customs, and more. A merged Revenue Division and a money laundering unit are proposed.
The NBR’s evolving role, transparency push, and technological strides signal a transformative approach to revenue management.