Bureaucracy’s malpractices in government agencies

Bangladesh is a developing country among the third world countries and as such its policies have to be very much effective and citizen friendly. We know that there are many sources of our law other than the law making bodies i.e. legislature. We know that the National Assembly is the main legislative authority which is known as Primary Law. Immediate after the Constitution of Bangladesh our Parliament is the proper authority to make law. It is known to us that in a country there are total 03(three) wings which run the whole show of any country and they are (i) Executives (ii) Judiciary and (iii) Parliament.

In our country, from the day of our liberation, there were no actually separation between Judiciary and the Executives. Nevertheless, couple of years back, our caretaker government practically played a vital role to make the separation between Judiciary and the Executives which is a considered as one of the landmarks. That there are more than dozens of sources from a law can be derived.

Globally it is known that, government of any country depends on its revenue earned from citizens of that country and/or its natural resources. Besides, Import and Exports of goods and/or materials are also major sources of government revenue. There are very few countries in the globe which are not depended on their natural resources and/or the revenue earned from its citizens. This includesinternal and external sources. There are IRD (internal resource division) and ERD (external resource division) which are the 02(two) wings of our governmental revenue other than the natural resources, imports and exports are also major factors which play vital role of our economy. Income Tax is one of the main sources of our economy. This Income Tax is again principally 02(two) types. Those are Direct Tax and the other one is Indirect Tax.

The authorities of Income Tax are from Chairman of NBR and the Inspector of Taxes. There are few positions who are directly revenue collector in Income Tax. There are various types of Income Tax Zones which are headed by a Commissioner of Taxes. For example; Taxes Zones (in general), Central Survey Zone at Dhaka which is having its wings in all over Bangladesh, Central Intelligence Cell (CIC), Director General of Inspection (D.G, Inspection), Large Tax Payers Unit (LTU) and finally Director General (D.G) of BCS Taxes Academy.

On the other hand, there are total 02(two) tiers known as Income Tax First Appeal and Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. This (02) two forums are established to settle disputes (if any) when any Tax Payee ( may be Individuals, Proprietorship Firms, Partnership Firms, Limited Companies, Multi National Companies (MNC), Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Foreign Companies, Join Ventured Companies Publicly Traded Companies, Publicly non Traded Companies and any other entities.

Literally and as per the existing Law of the land, the Deputy Commissioner of Taxes (DCT) (hereinafter referred to as the DCT) and his/her subordinates are directly involved to collect Governmental Revenues.The DCT is the proper and only authority to collect Tax and he/she assesses the Tax Files of all categories of Tax Payees. In this case Inspector of Taxes (field officer) plays a vital role in collecting Taxes including outstanding which may be for the current year or immediate past year and/or previous one or more years.

However, in our country, currently there are 02(two) ways of submission of Income Tax returns and they are, (i). By way of Universal Self Assessment (U/S 82BB) and (ii).By way of Normal Assessment (U/S 83). The DCTs (Circle Officers) are the proper and only lawful authority to assess the submitted Income Tax Returns (whatever the way the Income Tax Returns are submitted). Accordingly, as per the Income Tax Provision 1984 the DCTs are liable to complete the entire assessment as per the guideline given in Income Tax Ordinance 1984.

On the other hand, the Commissioners of Taxes, of a Taxes Zone impose different types of barriers and/or restrictions on their Subordinate Officers e.g. DCTs, IJCTs (Inspecting Joint Commissioner of Taxes) and IACT (Inspecting Additional Commissioner of Taxes). They do this by passing an office order which is known as executive order. Their orders are generally regarding fixing the power of assessment of a Tax file by the DCTs and their Supervising Officers and/or Range Officers i.e. IJCT and IACT. In view, it is to be stated here that, the Commissioners fix the assessed income of their subordinates including the Inspecting Joint Commissioner of Taxes(IJCT)as well as Inspecting Additional Commissioner of Taxes(IACT).They generally mention the power (a certain amount of assessed income of each assessee) and also fix the power of all Supervising Officers up to a certain limit of assessed income. Income Tax Commissioners generally do it, so that high volume of Tax Filesare to be approved by the Zone Commissioners as they deem fit and proper. Once any office orders by the Zone Commissioners are passed to the Subordinate Officers then the subordinate officers become liable to carry on the orders and they do not have any other options.

In the light of the above, after assessment by the DCT, he/she put forward their draft assessment to their concerned supervising officeri.e. IJCT and/or IACT and after that the supervising officers as per the executive order put forward the same to the Zone Commissioner(s) for necessary approval. On the contrary, if there is no such approval system then the DCTs may also do or undo anything which may go against the government revenue and/or the assessee may be victim from fare judgment due to unlimited power in the hands of the DCT.

In fact, their such practices are not inserted in Income Tax Ordinance. They just do it since they have their executive powers. On the other hand, these practices waste valuable time, energy and these practices linger the entire processes and thus tax payees and/or their nominated persons suffer from unnecessary hassles which sometimes negate and/or affect the Tax Payees which put negative impacts on the Tax Payees in a large scale. This approval method initiated by the Commissioners of Taxes are never friendly to the Tax Payees. In view, the approval systems are to be modified and waste of time is to be and minimized properly protected for the interest of the assessee and/or Tax Payees.

–    DrGazi Sirazul Islam, Ph.D in Law, Advocate

The Main Source of this Article: https://www.observerbd.com/news.php?id=400836

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