Finance State Minister Dr. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya yesterday said that a set of proposals were presented to the government with an objective of increasing tax revenue by more than Rs.100 billion over the total government tax revenue projected to be collected within this year.
The State Minister handed over this report to President Ranil Wickremesinghe last Wednesday (12).
The three main government agencies that collect tax revenue for the government are the Inland Revenue Department, Sri Lanka Customs and the Excise Department. The State Minister said that the proposed measures to collect the tax revenues that could not be properly collected from these institutions under a specific programme
in the short-term, medium-term and long-term have been unveiled. Speaking at a press conference at the Finance Ministry, State Minister Siyamblapitiya said the country’s economic, social and political stability can be ensured by increasing tax revenues. Accordingly, the State Minister explained some of the main moves among the proposals aiming at increasing the state revenue and making the tax administration efficient.
It has been proposed to levy a 5 per cent Withholding Tax on the issuance of permits for temporary VAT registrations, which is currently losing more than Rs.100 billion per year. Besides, a mechanism will be developed to act promptly on unpaid taxes and dishonoured cheques. Under this move a separate Court will be established for cases related to taxes and dishonoured cheques. The improvement of the computer network system of the Inland Revenue Department of Sri Lanka will be implemented by September.
Under the Customs Revenue Enhancement Program, a security camera network (CCTV) will be established covering all container handling centres. In order to prevent delays in Court proceedings regarding customs and appeals, a cash deposit will be required.
The contribution of customs to the exchequer will increase. The rules will be amended to allow a maximum period of 9 months for the investigations carried out by the customs. The investigation should be done within 3 months. A “Single Window’ programme is being implemented to streamline the Customs’ activities.
The Excise Department currently does not levy any duty on toddy production so far. Therefore, henceforth a tax of 10 rupees per liter of toddy will be charged.
Finance Ministry Acting Secretary Priyantha Ratnayake, Director General of Fiscal Policy Department Dr. Kapila Senanayake, Inland Revenue Commissioner General D.R.S Hapuarchchi, Director General of Customs Sarath Nonis, Deputy Commissioner General of Excise Department Kapila Kumarasinghe and several other state officials attended this media briefing.