Sri Lanka private sector calls for fewer, simpler taxes

Nov 12, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s private sector Monday urged the government to do more to reduce the multitude of taxes and simplify the system in order to make payment and collection more efficient. It also warned against what appeared to be government moves to resurrect unsuccessful welfare measures in an attempt to cushion low income earners from high inflation.

The private sector appreciated the measures in the government 2008 budget, presented last week, to simplify the tax system, tax expert Premila Perera told a meeting organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

But she said more steps were required to simplify the system even further and also to reduce the number of taxes.

“We should move towards a simplified system. This should broad base the tax base, improve compliance and reduce the costs of administration. The plethora of taxes we have make compliance and administration difficult.”

A budget proposal, introduced at the request of the private sector, that those liable to economic service charge are exempt from withholding tax provisions of the Inland Revenue act generated a lively debate at the meeting.

Private sector representatives said they welcomed the move b