Although there are 500,000 personal income tax files in this country, only 31,000 of them are paying tax, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Chair of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Economic and Physical Plans said.
He pointed out that there are 105,000 registered limited companies in the country, but 82% of the tax revenue is received from only 382 companies.
The Chair also emphasized that it is important to maintain the inflation, the reserves of the country, and the government’s income in an optimal condition by December by the time of the second review of the International Monetary Fund, given that the said factors must be taken into account when granting loans. Therefore, the Chair said that his Committee will hold regular discussions with Sri Lanka Customs, Excise Department, and Inland Revenue Department to provide necessary facilities to increase the state revenue.
He stated the above when the Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Economic and Physical Plans met in Parliament recently.
The Chair spoke at length about the failure of the Inland Revenue Department to collect the tax revenue and stated that the Committee is making positive improvements in this regard. There was also a discussion about the collection of 904 billion rupees in arrears which is due to the Inland Revenue Department. The Chair also pointed out that discussions are being held with the Minister of Justice to amend the Inland Revenue Apart from the said Hon. Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that he would also provide his utmost assistance to fill the existing employee vacancies in the Inland Revenue Department.
The Inland Revenue Commissioner General who spoke on the occasion said that he appreciated the support received from the Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Economic and Physical Plans to make the work of his department efficient.
The Commissioner stated that the tax revenue target given by the government for the year 2023 of Rs 1.6 trillion was expected to be earned by 40% in the first 6 months and 60% in the remaining 6 months, and the target for the first 6 months has already been met. Apart from the said, he stated that work is being done to generate expected tax revenue in the remaining 6 months.
The Chair mentioned that there is a need to establish a systematic mechanism to regulate the collection of tax revenue. Members as well as officials pointed out that due to the fact that the data provided for the registration of companies in this country is not true, they have to face problems in tax collection.
The Committee also discussed at length the need to establish a digital data system linking the Sri Lanka Customs Department, the Excise Department and the Inland Revenue Department as soon as possible, as well as the need to re-register the private tax file in the country.