The Joint Opposition (JO) today said that it would submit an amendment to the Value Added Tax (VAT) Bill, when it was tabled in Parliament, to return the monies collected from the people following the VAT increase, that came into effect on May 2.
MP Bandula Gunawardane said since the Supreme Court had ruled that it was illegal to charge the increment without Parliamentary approval, the Government should pay what was already charged back to the tax payers.
“It was in this backdrop, the Cabinet approved new amendments to the VAT Bill, to increase the tax to 15 per cent. This proves the fact that the monies which were collected from the masses were illegal. Recently, I witnessed two patients asking for the VAT amount they had paid a private hospital be refunded. One patient had paid Rs. 60,000 and the other Rs, 120,000. The hospital management had informed the patients that they have sent the collected money to the Inland Revenue Department. This amount belonged to the people, not to the government,” the MP told a news conference.
He said they would submit another amendment in the event the government decided to implement the VAT increment with retrospective effect.
MP Gunawardane reiterated that the government could impose a Rs. 20 tax on a cigarette to collect an income of Rs. 82 billion per year. “Had it gone ahead with this move, the government would not have had to impose taxes on cellular phones used by many who are frequently benefiting from telecommunication service providers and the patients who are receiving treatment at private hospitals,” he said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)