Every Sri Lankan citizen above the age of 18 would be assigned a tax file number, Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera told Parliament yesterday. Minister Samaraweera, commencing the debate on the Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill, said that although everyone would not be taxed, a file number would be assigned to each citizen over 18 years of age.
“Anyone can inform the Inland Revenue Department that they have no income if they don’t earn a revenue,” he said.
He went on to say that, similar to other nations, those with a tax file would be entitled to host of benefits.
“Those who are assigned a tax file will be allowed to enter into historical places such as Sigiriya free of charge. They will not have to purchase tickets to enter museums and zoological gardens. This kind of benefits are given to tax file holders in many countries”
Elaborating on tax issues faced by the country at present, the Minister said that there are 5.1 million super-rich households in the country but only 1.1 million had registered to pay taxes.
“Furthermore, only 30% of 43,000 businesses, registered to pay taxes, have paid them in 2016. This new legislation seeks to remedy this situation.”
However, the Minister said the new legislation would see the Government earn an additional Rs 56 billion in revenue and provide for the restructuring of tax revenue where direct taxes would be 40% of State revenue while indirect taxes would contribute the 60% of the revenue. “Patriotism is widely talked about in this country. One must be prepared to pay taxes if he is patriotic” he added.