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July 11, 2004

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TIN: An indicator of citizen's consciousness

Md Zahidul Islam

A TIN or Taxpayer Identification Number is a 10-digit number made up of 9 numbers and 1 check digit. It is a number awarded by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to a person who applies for it as per provision of the Income Tax Ordinance, 1984. Here, a person also means a person under the Income Tax Ordinance, which includes an individual, a firm, an associate of persons, a Hindu individual family, a local authority, a company and every other artificial juridical person. At present TIN is being used for many purposes under the Income Tax Ordinance, 1984. Besides, section 184AA of the Income Tax Ordinance, 1984 clearly says that National Board of Revenue may with the government's approval specify any class of documents where a TIN is to be mentioned. So, the area of application of TIN may at any time be elaborated. Hence, the importance of TIN is simply apprehended. In fact, having TIN is not a fashion but a necessity.

Where does it apply?
Every person, who is liable to submit a Return of Income, is to use TIN, as the Forms of Return of Income require it. Moreover, section 184A of the Income Tax Ordinance, 1984 has set out some other cases where a TIN is required to be produced. According to the said section a person is required to produce a TIN at the time of
- Opening a letter of credit for the purpose of import;
- Submitting an application for the purpose of obtaining an import registration certificate;
- Renewal of Trade license in the area of a corporation or of a paurashova of a divisional Headquarters;
- Submitting tender documents for the purpose of supply of goods, execution of a contract or for rendering services;
- Submitting an application for membership of a club registered under the Value Added Tax Act, 1991;
- Issuance or renewal of license or enlistment of a surveyor of general insurance;
- Registration for purchase of land, building or an apartment situated within any city corporation, deed value of which exceeds one lakh taka; of course this provision shall not apply in case of a non resident Bangladeshi; and
- Sanction of loan exceeding five-lakh taka to a person by a commercial bank;
- Issuing credit card;
- Issuing of practicing licence to a doctor, a chartered accountant, a cost and management accountant, a lawyer or an income tax practitioner;
- Giving connection of ISD telephone; and
- Registering of a company under the Companies Act, 1994 in respect of sponsoring directors.

How to obtain a TIN
The application Form for obtaining a Taxpayer's Identification Number is prescribed under Rule 64B of the Rules. This prescribed application form just requires some general information of the assessee. However, the application Form can be collected without cost from the zonal offices of tax authority e.g. the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Taxes (DCT). This application form for a TIN, completed by the assessee, should be submitted to the DCT whose jurisdiction they fall to be assessed under. As a rule, jurisdiction depends on residence or the place of business of the person (assessee).
That is all an assessee has to do. If the correct and complete application form is submitted, the DCT shall issue a TIN certificate within the next working day of submitting the application.

Concluding remarks
Non-compliance with any legal requirement follows a legal consequence. This is also true here. Where any person without reasonable cause fails to obtain a TIN certificate or after getting it fails to display the same at the specific place within the specified time, he will be fined by the DCT for time during which the default continues. However, each and every citizen, who is under a legal obligation, is expected to collect TIN not just to escape the legal arms of the state but to perform his duty towards the state as a conscious and patriot one.

Md Zahidul Islam is currently working for Legal Affairs of Reforms in Revenue Administration (RIRA).

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