High net worth individuals have been provided a host of benefits in the Budget 2016, possibly in an interpretation of the social market economic theory of providing a strong safety net for citizens.
“Personal taxpayers who pay more than Rs.25 million per year will be granted with special privileges,” Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s proposals said.
According to the new personal tax reforms in the Budget, an individual would have to have a personal taxable income of Rs.166.67 million annually to enjoy such benefits. These benefits will not be limited to their right to use the VIP counter at the airport and priority treatment at government institutions and hospitals.
High net worth individuals already receive luxurious treatment at the airport. Further, since the budget itself had identified the shortcomings of the state-sector healthcare facilities and the need to improve them, such individuals may not be amenable to visiting such facilities, unless driven by a zealous patriotic streak.
“Consultation services to the tax payers will be provided by the Inland Revenue Department and an effective help desk with competent officers will be allocated,” the Budget further added. An argument could also be made as to whether such individuals would visit government institutions personally to sort out administrative details and whether they would require state-sector tax consultations after reaching such a level of affluence.
Further benefits include special invitations for state functions and a once a year felicitation meeting with the President and Prime Minister.
Recent evidence has suggested that such individuals have unfettered access to both the President and the Prime Minister. However, social market economic theories say that a strong safety net should be extended to all citizens of a state, which brings about the question of why only the top one percent of the wealth pyramid is provided with these priorities and benefits. (CW)