Govt. overhauls taxes and levies laws to boost revenue

Thursday, 10 April 2014 01:54 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Ashwin Hemmathagama Our Lobby Correspondent Tightening the tax collection measures to increase the revenue received at State coffers, the Government has amended the Special Commodity Levy Act No. 48 of 2007, Companies Act No. 7 of 2007, Default Taxes (Special Provisions) Act No. 16 of 2010, and the Monetary Law Act. Moving the motion in Parliament, Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology Ranjith Siyambalapitiya claimed to offer “more welfare for the public and to further streamline the tax collection” mechanism. Yesterday’s amendment introduced to Special Commodity Levy Act No. 48 of 2007 will add the Nation Building Tax Act No. 9 of 2009 to schedule six, which contains the other acts and laws exempting certain taxes on commodity items. The Companies Act No. 7 of 2007 amendment will mainly replace Section 132 of the Companies Act highlighting the procedures any private company should follow when submitting annual returns to the Register of Companies and the process of notifying both the Director General of Inland Revenue and Register of Companies when submitting the annual returns before effecting the windup or change of status or in a similar situation. The alteration to Default Taxes (Special Provisions) Act No. 16 of 2010 amended Section 10 by adding a new subsection providing the necessary provisions to the Commissioner General of Inland Revenue to take immediate action instead of instituting action in the High Court of the respective province for the recovery of taxes in default. It also enabled to recover from a manager, secretary, any director or principal officer of an institution including the partners or office bearers in the event of tax default. With the new law in place, the Commissioner General is armed to recover tax in default by seizure and sale, following the proceedings before a Magistrate, out of debt to be paid back to a defaulter, by way of transfer of immovable property instead of paying in cash, and out of the remuneration of the defaulter. The Monetary Law Act was the last in the list, which was amended. With the amendments in Monetary Law Act, the Government has increased the capital of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to Rs. 50 billion. Introducing a few more amendments to the Customs Ordinance and the Excise Ordinance, the Minister plans to stop the exploiting of benefits provided to import small vehicles used for self-employment projects and also to streamline ethyl alcohol importation to Sri Lanka. “All these amendments will help us to develop the economy. The Central Bank Annual Report for 2013, which was launched yesterday, was a historical document that shows the progress in Sri Lanka. It gives a positive impression about Sri Lanka where the Government has kept to most of the promises given just after finishing the war,” he said.