Sri Lanka to hunt for tax dodgers

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Inland Revenue Department will carry out islandwide raids on businesses to rope them into the tax net and crack down on tax evasion, its chief said.

“Our aim is to widen the tax base,” Commissioner General of the Inland Revenue Kalyani Dahanayake said. 

“We will be going all over country even after office hours to get people not in the tax net to be brought in,” she told a forum on the government’s 2017 budget presented last week organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said the Inland Revenue Department had more than doubled the number of tax files since the new government came to power in January 2015, but many remained outside the tax net.

“There were 600,000 files on January 8, 2015 (when the new government won the presidential election),” he told the forum. “Today, it has 1.4 million files, an almost 120 percent increase, but it is still not enough.”

Karunanayake said there was only one company that pays over Rs100 million in tax and that tax evasion was widespread.

“There are only 43,000 corporate tax files, 21,00 VAT (Value-Added Tax) and 25,000 NBT (Nation Building Tax) files. Only 9 percent of tax files compared with a population of 23 million,” he said.

“We call for a slight change in attitude – don’t pay nothing and ask for everything from the government. I have asked Inland Revenue, Customs, the Excise Department and the Treasury to be vigilant and go after everybody.”
(COLOMBO, Nov 16, 2016)

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