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Sri Lanka’s Tax Dept received Rs 2.4 billion worth of Rubber cheques: COPA

COPA Commitee Meeting Chaired by Prof Tissa Vitharana – File photo

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Inland Revenue Department (IRD) had received 6,878 dishonoured cheques worth over Rs. 2.4 billion as of December 31 last year, officials disclosed at a Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) meeting last week.

According to a statement released by parliament yesterday, COPA has directed IRD officials to take immediate action to recover the Rs 2,451,465,383 that should’ve been received through these bad cheques.

The parliament’s statement had erroneously noted the figure as Rs 240 million, which was repeated in a number of media reports. EconomyNext confirmed with a spokesman that the correct amount owed is indeed Rs 2.45 billion.

COPA has also directed IRD officials to take action to recover some Rs 2.67 billion in tax arrears from casino businesses. The statement noted that cases have already been filed by the IRD in the Colombo magistrate’s court to this end.

According to Section 12 of the Default Taxes (Special Provisions) Act No 16 of 2010, COPA has found, the amount of tax arrears that could be collected as of 31 December 2020 was around Rs 144 billion (Rs 144,537,364,916.

The parliament statement said COPA has directed the Ministry of Finance to expedite the preparation of a common methodology for the implementation of the Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS) under the IRD in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders.

Steps are being taken to include 29 institutions in RAMIS, with six of these institutions already signed up. Six more institutions will be included in it by the end of 2021, the statement said.

The committee also recommended that the Central Bank of Sri Lanka provide guidelines for the inclusion of all active bank revenue in the country in RAMIS. The state-owned Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank are set to join the system in one month.

Appointments of IRD agents to resolve existing issues regarding access to RAMIS was also discussed, the statement said. Officials of the Ministry of Finance, the IRD, National Audit Office, Treasury and other institutions included in the RAMIS took part in the meeting. (Colombo/Mar29/2021)

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