July 21, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said he is expecting to present the new income tax act to parliament in August and and have it implemented by the next tax year.
“By the third week of August we will put the bill to parliament and get it approved there,” he told reporters in Colombo, Friday.
“We want to widen the tax net and in the next 2-3 years our aim is to increase the direct tax component and reduce the indirect taxpayers. Our intention is to remove exemptions as a policy and get everyone in to the tax net.”
He says that discussions are still ongoing with stakeholders.
“There are cases filed in the Supreme Court and we will try to incorporate changes that are suggested by stakeholders if their views are reasonable.”
“Personally I want everyone over the age of 18 to have a taxpayer number whether they pay tax or not.”
Eran Wickramaratne, state minister for finance, said that a new software will have to be installed and training of Inland Revenue staff will be needed once the new law is in place.
“Training will be required and also a new software – of course we expect some kind of disruption as it is when anything is new,”
“Tax payers will be allowed up to six months to file returns and officials will have time till the second half of 2018 to become familiar with the law.”
Under the new law, money earned from foreign employment will remain tax free.