The National Board of Revenue will give licences to eligible individuals as VAT consultants to advise businesses on issues related to value-added tax and represent them in tax offices. The revenue board has already framed rules tilted VAT Consultant Licencing Rules-2019 to facilitate issuance of such licences for removal of scarcity of skilled professionals in the sector.
Officials said that the number of businesses and coverage of the indirect tax had been expanding remarkably along with the growing economy of the country but the number of independent VAT professionals was very insignificant causing difficulties for traders in receiving effective services from VAT officials.
Businesses or their representatives cannot effectively handle the issues due to lack of specialised knowledge on VAT laws, rules and updated provisions on the issues, they said.
Trained and skilled VAT consultants will be able to give better suggestions to businesses and represent the businesses in the VAT offices on issues including tax disputes, they added.
According to the rules, an individual aged minimum 25 years and having honours or equivalent degree from any recognised university will be able to obtain VAT consultant licence.
Aspirants will have to apply to the director general of Customs Excise and VAT Training Academy located in Chattogram with Tk 10,000 examination fee and will have to attend examinations for getting the licence.
The academy will arrange written examinations on VAT act, rules, gazette notifications, customs act, import and export polices and other relevant rules and regulations twice in a year.
Successful candidates will get VAT consultant licences for five years.
The academy will also arrange evaluation examinations for licence holders once or more in a year.
Chartered accountants and chartered secretaries having experience of five years and retired VAT officials with working experience of five years in the posts above ninth grade under the national pay scale are exempted from the examinations.
According to the licensing rules, VAT consultants will have to be VAT-registered and will pay applicable VAT against services he or she will provide. A licence holder should not provide authorities or individuals with any false or fabricated information.
He or she also should not hide any information or give wrong suggestions.
The NBR will cancel licence if any VAT consultant provides false information or is engaged in VAT evasion directly or indirectly.
The offender will also face penalty up to Tk 1 lakh for violation of rules.
Officials said that under the previous rules, only 72 individuals obtained licences as VAT consultants while income tax wing of the NBR has more than 23,000 income-tax practitioners and the customs wing has 9,000 clearing and forwarding agents to support taxpayers.
Though most of the large businesses have salaried employees to look after their VAT issues, most of the small and medium enterprises do not have ability to recruit employees for the purpose, they said, adding that the new rules would solve the problem.
They said that the number of VAT return filing businesses started increasing due to the NBR’s efforts to expand VAT collection and implement the new VAT and Supplementary Duty Act-2012.