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Ten distillery companies default taxes worth Rs 6.9Bn in 2023

02 Apr 2024 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

By Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana   

Ten distillery companies have defaulted taxes to the tune  of Rs 6.9 billion in 2023 as per the report of Ways and Means Committee  which was tabled in Parliament  yesterday.   

The companies that have defaulted include W. M. Mendis  and Company, Wayamba Distilleries, Wayamba Spirit, Globe Blenders,  McCallum Brewery, Kalutara Cooperative Distilleries, Synergy  Distilleries, Randenigala Distilleries, Hingurana Distilleries and Royal  Ceylon Distilleries.   

As per the directive given by the Committee on Ways and Means,  manufacturing and distribution of liquor by four companies who had  defaulted tax namely W. M. Mendis and Company, Finland Distilleries,  Synergy Distilleries and Randenigala Distilleries have been banned as  their excise licences expired on September 30 last year and the Excise  Department has not renewed them. However W. M. Mendis and Company,  Finland Distilleries, Synergy Distilleries and Randenigala Distilleries  who have agreed to pay default taxes have actually paid the first  instalments on November 4, 2023. The four companies remitted a total of  Rs 906, 176,439.51 while there is an outstanding amount of Rs 332,715,868.31   

The report revealed that Wayamba Distilleries has filed a  case at the Court of Appeal against the decision of the Excise  Department to cancel its licenses.   

Committee has raised concerns about liquor companies such as  Globe Blenders, Wayamba Spirit Stores and Kalutara Cooperatives  Distilleries who have evaded paying taxes by terminating their  businesses.   
Neither the Ministry of Finance nor the Excise Department  have taken action to seize liquor bottles with fake security tax stamps  until the committee directed the Commissioner General of Exercise to  begin raids to seize liquor bottles with the fake sticker.