Sri Lanka’s tax department tries to rope in larger numbers of taxpayers

Jan 30, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tax office is moving towards increasing the number of taxpayers to five percent of the total population, a top official said. At present, only about two percent of the population in Sri Lanka are income tax payers, Commissioner General of Inland Revenue said at a workshop organized by the news website vimasuma.com and the Kalutara Chamber of Commerce.

“We hope to increase that to five percent.”

The department says it has adopted a friendlier attitude towards taxpayers, which in return would encourage larger numbers to pay taxes.

The Department last year also revised the time limits for lodging tax returns to expedite the tax collection process.

Action was also taken to acknowledge the receipt of appeals within 30 days and taxpayers were granted a ten percent discount for timely payments.

Tax revenue to the government was increased 24.9 percent in the first eight months of 2006, mainly from income taxes, excise duties and external trade related taxes. About 16 percent of government revenue last year was from income taxes, Sri Lanka’s Central Bank has said.