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Sri Lanka to re-examine president's tax holiday: finance minister

Jul 21, 2017 18:13 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)

ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's will re-examine the income tax holiday granted to the President under the existing law, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said, with a new income tax bill proposing the sweeping away of ad hoc tax exemptions granted over the years.

A central theme of the draft income tax law was to end the tax exemptions granted as favours to various people at various times, Samaraweera said.

However an income tax exemption given to the President, which dates from the time of the Rajapaksa regime has been re-introduced in the bill for a new law, at time when even monarchs are paying taxes in other countries.

"We will look into that," Minister Samaraweera, who seemed unaware of the exemption, told reporters.

According to published data US ex-President Barak Obama and his wife paid 81,472 dollars in Federal income tax and another 16,000 dollars in state income taxes in 2015.

The British Monarch also pays money to the government under a deal made in 1760, which was in effect when Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) was part of the British Empire.
 
Under the deal made with the Parliament, King George III handed over the total income from the Crown Estates to the Treasury in return for an annual grant.

The UK Treasury earned 285 million sterling from Crown Estates in 2015, and only 42.8 million pounds was returned as the Sovereign Grant for 2016/2017 to meet the Queens expenses, leaving a profit of over 200 million with the Treasury.

In addition the Queen of England voluntarily pays taxes on her personal financial portfolio and other income.

Sri Lanka gave an income tax holiday to politicians and state workers a few decades after gaining independence from Britain and only ordinary citizens were taxed like serfs, recreating a system loaded with tax privileges for the ruling class.

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa ended the privilege most of the modern day Second Estate, but the tax holiday for the President was continued.

Tax protests were a central theme of the French revolutions and one of the first acts of the newly formed National Assembly in 1790 was to end tax privileges, seigneurial rights as part of an overall abolition of feudalism.

Sri Lanka still gives tax free cars to the ruling classes and tax-slashed cars to state workers including state doctors who earn millions from private practice, in modern recreation of a Second Estate (nobility). (Colombo/July21/2017).


 

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