Customs: In celebration of International Customs Day, the Department of Revenue and Customs (DRC) awarded certificates of appreciation to the top 10 Personal Income Tax (PIT), Business Income Tax (BIT) and Corporate Income Tax (CIT) payers, yesterday.

The event was attended by finance minister Namgay Dorji.

With the highest tax amount paid and a good compliance record, SD Eastern Bhutan Ferro Silicon’s chairman, Sonam Dukpa, was recognised as the top PIT payer in the country.

Sonam Dukpa paid Nu 29.4 million in PIT for the income year 2015. Apart from the certificate, Sonam Dukpa received a duty-free access card and access to the VIP Lounge at Paro airport for a year.

There are a total of 78,964 PIT payers in the country today.

Sonam Dukpa was present to receive the award, but the rest of the top nine PIT payers could not make it to the event. Some of them did not want to be named.

BIT and CIT payers were awarded based on their good compliance records.

Awarding the certificates, the finance minister said that the main objective of the awards is to recognise taxpayers who had consistently contributed significant revenue over the last few years and had a good compliance record, including revenue contributions made to the country and in creating job opportunities.

The minister also added that the government took this decision as a token to give recognition to the tax payer and to encourage other private and business people to pay taxes as the law requires.

DRC director, Yonten Namgyel, said that the selection criteria was based on different aspects. Factors such as whether a taxpayers has maintained their accounts for more than five years, has no record of delinquency or outstanding taxes or duties with the department, has paid taxes on time, and has rendered full cooperation during assessment. among others, was taken into account.

“This was in a way to honour and thank them for contributing to the revenue of the government and show them respect, which is the main theme of today,” he said. “The BIT and CIT award was awarded to those who are compliant taxpayers, which is why we awarded in alphabetical order and not according to who paid the highest tax amount.”

Yonten Namgyel added that they made sure they had the permission from the PIT payers before declaring their income tax.

International Customs Day is celebrated every year in January. Bhutan became a member of the World Customs Organisation in 2002.

The day was celebrated to encourage the global customs community to pursue their efforts and activities in areas like collecting and analysing data to enhance the effectiveness of border management for effective customs administration.

The total imports during 2016 amounted to Nu 63.9 billion (B), of which Nu 4.2B was imported through the Samdrupjongkhar region, constituting 6.72 percent of the total import. The total export was recorded at Nu 22.2B and Samdrupjongkhar saw 10.33 percent of the total export flow through it.

The minister also launched the sixth edition of the “Bhutan Trade Classification and Tariff schedule 2017”.

The book will provide vital information on classification of traded goods including the corresponding applicable tariff (duties and taxes). The book will be available on the department’s website.

Yangchen C Rinzin | Samdrupjongkhar