Dhaka, Nov 16 (UNB) - The Income Tax Fair wore a festive look on Friday as hundreds of taxpayers rushed to its venue here to avail themselves of various tax-related services under one roof without any hassle on the first day of the weekly holiday.
Today was the fourth day of the week-long fair as it kicked off on November 13 with Finance Minister AMA Muhith formally inaugurating it.
The enthusiastic taxpayers started gathering on the Officer's Club premises well before 9am where the fair is taking place.
Taxpayers were seen standing in a long queue from 8:30m in front of the fair entrance.
When asked, Abul Kalam Miah, a freedom fighter, said he feels comfortable to submit his tax return during the fair as there is a dedicated booth for freedom fighters. "I’ve been taking this opportunity for the last eight years and this is a very good gesture of the NBR (National Board of Revenue) towards us," he said.
Yasmin Farida Bhuiyan, in her mid-60s, said as the fair has a separate booth for the female taxpayers and the senior citizens of the country it is better for anyone to submit their income tax return or anything related to the tax to finish here.
Syed Hasan Nasir, who lives in Mohammadpur area of the city, said he avails of the opportunity to submit his tax return at the fair as he always finds solution to any problem under the single roof. "This is the best place to submit your tax return or find any tax-related problem solved," he said.
Although the number of taxpayers in the early hours of the working time at the fair venue was thin, it started jumping after 10:30am.
Abu Delowar Hossain, who came from Agargaon, emphasised the importance of bringing back the fair to its own building at Agargaon. "It’s a matter of pride as the NBR holds the fair in its own building."
The volunteers were seen proactive in maintaining the queue as some taxpayers were reluctant about maintaining discipline. "Everybody hurries to have their works done once they enter the venue, but all need to maintain the queue," a worried volunteer said.
Talking to this correspondent, some officials said they feel encouraged when they saw the heavenly smile on the faces of the taxpayers as they get their desired tax-related services done. "These smiling faces are blessings for us," an assistant commissioner of tax told UNB.
All divisional cities are also holding similar fair for seven days while it will be held for four days in 56 districts, two days in 32 upazila and one day in 70 upazilas.
November 30 is the last day for submitting the income tax returns for individual taxpayers.
For the last two years, the fair was held at NBR's own office in the city's Agargaon area.
To avoid traffic jam due to the ongoing construction of metro rails, the NBR has shifted the fair venue from Agargaon to the Officers' Club, said the NBR.
The new inclusion in the fair is the tax training through audio visual means.
New taxpayers can collect e-TINs (electronic tax identification numbers) at the fair while other taxpayers also can collect e-TIN through re-registration.
Separate booths have been set up at the fair venues for e-payment and freedom fighters, women, people with disabilities and elderly people. The taxpayers will be able to file tax returns and do other tax-related tasks at the fair.
Tax collection on the first four days of the ongoing weeklong tax fair has crossed the Tk 1,200-crore mark amid the increasing turnout of individual taxpayers.
The NBR got a total of Tk 1,267.56 crore from all the divisional cities as of Friday, which was 5.51 percent higher from that of the same period last year.
During the period, some 6.61 lakh tax returns were also submitted, up 59.59 percent year-on-year, according to a statement of the NBR.
As of Friday, 9 lakh people received services from taxmen at the fair. The figure was 5.99 lakh last year, officials said.
The NBR said 19,415 new taxpayers joined the income tax network by signing up for taxpayers’ identification number in the first four days, which is 240.85 percent high on year-on-year.