Nov 03, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tax revenue needs to be increased and expanded into more regions as the government may face difficulties in going ahead with low revenue generation, Finance minister told a forum on Monday.
“We are planning a radical and revolutionary budget and tax is a main component,” Ravi Karunanayake, finance minister of Sri Lanka said.
“Our income is declining year by year. It is 10.8 percent of GDP this year.”
“If we move in that direction it will be hard on government’s salaries and pensions,”
“Sri Lanka will be in danger if the country moves ahead in this manner, so we have to make a change,”
“To change we should find innovative ways to introduce new taxes for those who are not paying taxes but not tax the same people who pay every day.”
A tax is a financial charge or other levy imposed upon a taxpayer by the state or the functional equivalent of a state to fund various public expenditures.
However most of the state owned enterprises where the tax payers’ money is largely utilized are loss making entities.
The up coming budget has increased the island’s tax revenue target to 602 billion rupees for 2016 from 516 billion rupee target in 2015.
Karunanayake said Sri Lanka needs to modernize the current tax system and widen the tax base in order to increase the revenue flow to the government.
“What we should do is expand the tax base with higher compliance,” Karunanayake said.
“In the same time we need to modernize the system in a humane manner. That system should be equal to everyone,”
“With the new administration there is no political interference, so you have the freedom to think wisely from where the country do not get taxes,”
“You (Inland Revenue Department) should go into every corner of the country and see where and whom can be taxed. Tax systems should not only target Colombo. Even though most people in some regions do not have the capacity to pay, some can. You have to investigate it and come up with a new tax structure to capture this.”
He added the Inland Revenue department will get a new building through the coming budget.