The government has taken steps to speed up settlement process of tax-related disputes, aiming to boost revenue income.
Under the move, it is going to create one more hearing bench under the Taxes Appellate Tribunal (TAT) to deal with an increased number of pending appeals.
"A process is currently underway to enhance the number of hearing bench under the TAT's Dhaka zone to ensure early disposal of pending disputes," a senior official informed the FE.
The finance ministry has already given its nod to create the additional hearing bench in Dhaka zone, the official said, adding that the matter was now under active consideration of the establishment ministry.
Nearly 1,100 tax-related appeals are pending with the TAT's Dhaka zone, the official said.
There are some four hearing benches under the Dhaka zone for settlement of income-tax related disputes.
Two other hearing benches are in operation in Chittagong and Khulna divisions.
About 200 tax-related disputes are yet to be solved with the Chittagong and Khulna benches, they noted.
All the four benches under Dhaka zone receive more than 80 per cent of the total appeals registered with the TAT, they mentioned.
Sources said the authority has found itself in a difficult situation to dispose off such a large number of appeals.
Taking the increasing number of pending appeals into consideration, the TAT had long been pursuing the government to increase the number of hearing bench, especially in Dhaka zone.
Usually, the tribunal registers about 500 to 600 appeals every month for hearing," a senior official said.
On the other hand, the authority is able to settle 400 to 500 appeals per month, leaving a backlog of at least 100 cases, he mentioned.
To come out of this situation, the authority has doubled the number of cases with 80 to be disposed off by each hearing bench in a month.
Besides, the authority has introduced financial incentive for the TAT members for the settlements of additional number of appeals.
Under the existing rules, the TAT is to settle the appeals within six months from the date of their registrations, failure of which will result in their automatic disposals.
Usually, the TAT registers tax-related disputes involving Tk 20,000 to Tk 10 million.
Tax-related disputes, which remain unresolved at the initial hearing by the tax appellate zones under the National Board of Revenue (NBR), are forwarded to the TAT.
Currently, the TAT has 10 full-time members to conduct hearings of the appeals under the Dhaka zone.
Under the existing provision, a full hearing bench requires two members (tax) at a time, they said, adding that a one-member bench is unable to handle tax-related disputes involving more than Tk 150,000.