National Board of Revenue chairman Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem inaugurates the installation of Electronic Fiscal Devices virtually in 100 business entities from the NBR conference room on 25 August 2020
National Board of Revenue chairman Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem inaugurates the installation of Electronic Fiscal Devices virtually in 100 business entities from the NBR conference room on 25 August 2020UNB

National Board of Revenue (NBR) chairman Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem has said that no organisation can raise questions over legalisation of untaxed money, popularly known as black money, and its subsequent investment availing amnesty in the budget for 2020-21 fiscal.

He also thinks that due to this step of the government the money flow increased in the capital market in recent weeks, reports news agency UNB.

"If any organisation raises questions regarding this matter, that will be unjust and that should not be. We’ve talked to the organisations that could raise questions about legalising untaxed money, and asked them not to do so," he said.

The NBR chairman said this while inaugurating the installation of Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs) virtually in 100 business entities from the NBR conference room on Tuesday.

Of the devices, 80 will be installed in Dhaka (40 each for Dhaka north and south) and 20 machines for Chattogram.

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This is a pilot project and it will be continued for next two weeks. After successfully running this project some 10,000 EFDs will be installed at the initial stage.

All the machines will be imported from China. Later 500,000 machines will be installed throughout the country in phases.

Regarding any question raised from any other organisation about the invested legalised untaxed money, he said that the aggrieved person can take the help of the law

The NBR chairman said that although his organisation is yet to get significant response from the black money holders, the capital market is getting good results of this amnesty.

"There is no remarkable response of this amnesty in the tax return so far, We will be able to see how much untaxed money is invested in the capital market (after the deadline of income tax return submission)," he said.

Regarding any question raised from any other organisation about the invested legalised untaxed money, he said that the aggrieved person can take the help of the law.

"The government through enacting law asked to invest the undisclosed money. No one can question here but I think that no one has to take the help of the law," he said.

Regarding the introduction of EFD, the revenue collection boss said that to stop the anomalies in the VAT collection the NBR has introduced this device.

He also said that this will bring a groundbreaking change in this sector.

"By this the hassle of the businessmen will be reduced, expenditure in revenue collection and doing business will be lessened, there will be no scope for tax evasion," he said.

The 13 types of businesses included hotels, restaurants, fast food shop, confectionaries, jewelries, beauty salons, furniture shop, garments or boutique shop, electronics shop, community centre, all business entities in mall, departmental stores, general shop or super shop, wholesalers and large retail stores

He mentioned that by the next three months another 1,000 EFDs will be installed while 100,000 EFDs will be there by the June next year.

Talking about awarding the VAT payers, NBR chairman said that telephone numbers of the consumers will be stored with the NBR. After a specific period, there will be lottery and selected consumers will be given from Tk 50,000 to Tk 100,000.

A few years back, the government was planning to use the automated system for collecting VAT. After exploring ideas from different countries, Electronic Cash Register (ECR) was introduced for some selected services.

But the ECR technology did not fulfil the expectations due to some technical shortcomings. The technology had been reviewed thoroughly to identify its limitations.

Thereafter, the government has decided to introduce the latest technology named EFD.

Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in his budget speech said that due to some formalities of procurement, installation of EFDs in business units was delayed.

Finally, he had said, it was planned to inaugurate the EFD installation in the last week of March 2020 to commemorate the Mujib Borsho. All the formalities were completed, but the installation was again delayed due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

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"We’ll do the installation on a priority basis once the coronavirus situation subsides. We hope that we can distribute EFD to business units within this Mujib year," he said while placing the budget for 2020-21 fiscal in parliament.

The NBR has taken an initiative to procure and install 10,000 EFDs in 13 types of business entities from next year in a move to check VAT evasion and enhance collection.

The new EFD will replace the electronic cash register (ECR) and the point of sale (POS).

The 13 types of businesses included hotels, restaurants, fast food shop, confectionaries, jewelries, beauty salons, furniture shop, garments or boutique shop, electronics shop, community centre, all business entities in mall, departmental stores, general shop or super shop, wholesalers and large retail stores.

The EFDs will help curb evasion as these would be connected with the server that will generate real time data of sales at shops.

The EFDs will be connected online with a server at the NBR. Any entry from a particular business entity will be registered at the server of the NBR.

If any business entity does not use this EFD or any deviation in using this is proved, the entity will have to pay Tk 20,000-50,000 as fine. If this kind of offence committed repeatedly then the NBR will lock the offender’s Business Identification Number (BIN).

At present, several thousand shops use electronic cash registers and point-of-sale machines.

However, all of the business entities are not currently using the device to issue sales invoices to customers and hide actual transaction figures from taxmen.

The NBR had made the e-cash mandatory in 2008 for 11 types of businesses: hotels, restaurants, confectionaries, jewelers, beauty salons, wholesalers and large retail stores.

Allegations are widespread that many businesses do not use the e-cash register even after installation to evade VAT allegedly in connivance with field officials of the revenue authority.