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Thursday, June 8, 2023

IRD clueless about Cabinet-approved IRD Act amendments  – The Morning

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  • Cabinet approves Basil’s proposal to amend Act
  • IRD unaware of amendments or cabinet proposal



By Shenal Fernando 

The Cabinet of Ministers on Monday (14) approved a proposal submitted by Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa seeking amendments to the Inland Revenue Act No. 14 of 2017. However, it appears that the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) is in the dark as it has not been informed about any amendments nor about Cabinet approving such a proposal. 

Speaking to The Morning Business yesterday (15), IRD Commissioner General H.M.W.C. Bandara expressed his surprise regarding the announcement of the cabinet decision to amend the Inland Revenue Act and claimed not to possess any knowledge as to the nature of the amendments sought to be implemented by Rajapaksa.

“I have no idea (about the cabinet decision). What does it say? I will check and find out. I don’t know about this. I wasn’t informed.”

According to the press release on the weekly cabinet decisions published by the Department of Government Information yesterday, Rajapaksa had decided to introduce several amendments to the Inland Revenue Act based on proposals submitted by various parties to increase tax compliance and facilitate taxation, while encouraging investment and exports and providing relief to emerging sectors of the economy.

Rajapaksa had further identified several provisions in the Inland Revenue Act which needed to be amended to increase clarity and alleviate confusion.

Despite numerous attempts by The Morning Business to contact Rajapaksa to obtain some clarity regarding the situation, all such attempts proved futile as Rajapaksa and Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle had departed the country for India on a two-day official visit.

However, a senior Treasury official stated that he is unaware about such a proposal and directed us to speak to the IRD. 

The revenue collected by the IRD fell by 48.9% in 2020 to Rs. 523.9 billion from Rs. 1 trillion in 2019 following tax policies changes imposed by the Government in late 2019.

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