Sri Lanka raises telecom levy, ups taxes on foods, removes VAT exemptions

Nov 21, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has raised a tax on telecom services and imposed import taxes on a series of foods and other goods to help favoured businessmen and removed value added tax exemptions. A tax on telecom services which include voice calls has been raised to 25 percent from 20 percent, but broadband services will continue to be taxed at a lower 10 percent, a budget for 2014 said.

A two percent nation building tax has been extended to banks.

Cess taxes have been raised on wheat flour, cheese, curd, margarine, sauces, sausages, sweets, chocolates, cereals, pasta, beer made from malt, vinegar, vegetables, mushrooms, nuts and fruits, fruit juice, mosquito coils, cut flowers, but rates were not given.

Import cess has also been raised on steel products, aluminum bars and tubes, padlocks, hinges, Portland cement of in packs of 50 kilograms or below.

Even gauze has been taxed at 25 percent.

A special commodity levy had been revised on sprats, chickpeas, green grams, canned fish, sugar, Maldive fish, dried fish, orange, coriander, cumin, funnel, turmeric, ground nuts, mustard seed, palm oil, salt, yoghurt, butter, margarine.

Cess has been removed on designer pens, ti