Payment of taxes is not a burden but a social duty. Sri Lanka too should introduce laws to punish people evading taxes and those aiding and abetting them under criminal law as in developed countries like England, Commissioner General of Inland Revenue Ivan Dissanayake said.
He was addressing a public seminar and awareness programme on the Island Revenue Act No. 24 of 2017 held at Kurunegala, organised by the Inland Revenue Department recently.
Dissanayake said tax revenue contributed to a mere 10 percent of the total national income. But in comparson to this, even in more underdeveloped countries, tax revenue accounted for at least 20 or 34 percent of total national income.
“Now they had been able to increase tax revenue to about 14 percent of the total income through much effort. The payment of the first instalment under the new Inland Revenue Act was due on August 15 and the department had collected Rs.30 billion as tax revenue in compassion to Rs. 21 billion received as first installment under the earlier Act by August 15, 2017. By July 31, the department had opened 86,000 new tax files due to people volunteering to pay taxes. He said his department was thankful to everyone who came forward to pay taxes on their own accord,” he said.
“Artistes recently agitated against the Withholding Tax. Now the tax which was 14 percent subject to Rs.500000 per year has been reduced to 5 percent. Cabinet approval has already been received to reduce Withholding Tax on leasing from 10 percent to five percent.