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President gets tough with IRD, Excise, Customs over revenue failure

1 November 2023 06:16 am - 24     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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- Despite repeated orders, IRD fails to increase tax files

- IRD, Customs, Excise questioned on delay of digitalising files

- So far only 500,000 continue to be under tax net

- Govt. says compelled to increase VAT as State Depts fail to collect revenue

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has raised stern concerns with the Chiefs of the Inland Revenue Department, Excise and Customs Departments over their failure to gather the required revenue for the country and has queried as to why only an estimated 500,000 tax files continue to be on the tax base when the actual number of files should be far higher.

In his latest attempt to streamline the functions at state institutions, President Wickremesinghe had sternly questioned the IRD Chief as to why repeated requests to increase the country's tax base had still not been done. According to estimated figures, only 500,000 tax files have been opened at the IRD while actual figures should be well in the millions.

Wickremesinghe had also informed the higher-ups in the government, that it is because of the failure of the bureaucrats at these state institutions that the government was failing to reach its revenue targets, compelling the Finance Ministry to then pass the burden on to the citizens by increasing indirect taxes such as VAT.

It is also only recently that the IRD adapted the digitization programme after several requests went unheard for years. By digitalizing the entire system, experts say corruption can be reduced significantly in state institutions.

Sources said that the Customs and Excise departments are however yet to go digital despite several requests from the higher-ups.

The Daily Mirror learns that in the cabinet meeting held earlier this week, ministers had raised concerns about increasing the VAT by 18 percent but were compelled to agree due to the government failing to meet its revenue targets.

Wickremesinghe had informed his cabinet that while his intention was to reduce the indirect taxes for the public, he could not do so presently as state institutions failed to perform their duties. (Jamila Husain)


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  Comments - 24

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  • Puswadilla Wednesday, 01 November 2023 06:27 AM

    Send these jokers home. Send the Minister in charge to home. Scrap their future sapa pention too.

    Ignatius Rasiah Wednesday, 01 November 2023 06:28 AM

    Poor buggers will pay tax. The rich get away. Their money is overseas.

    Dr. Amila Kankanamge Wednesday, 01 November 2023 06:42 AM

    Namal Rajapaksa the future president will fix this. Namal is a brilliant digital mind. I will be his digital minister.

    Sivalingam Wednesday, 01 November 2023 06:43 AM

    Officials go for an audit and come back with a lot of cash in the pockets.

    Nirmala Wednesday, 01 November 2023 06:55 AM

    CCTV?

    Sivalingam Wednesday, 01 November 2023 06:56 AM

    India collects high taxes on petrol and diesel. Simple solution match Chennai prices.

    Kandiah Balendran Wednesday, 01 November 2023 06:59 AM

    Make all retail and wholesale sales cashless (except local agricultural produce) start with VAT registered outlets.

    ERAN Wicks Wednesday, 01 November 2023 07:00 AM

    Most of the goods sold in Pettah are smuggled.

    Oswald Nilantha - ON Wednesday, 01 November 2023 07:20 AM

    So VAT increase is not necessary. Spicy officials and politicians are responsible for not collecting these taxes. Now it is evident that Basil plants and Ganja cultivation add too much to the economy, not digestible. Full stop.

    Jude Wednesday, 01 November 2023 07:21 AM

    Check the bank accounts and assets of the hierarchy and all the key officials of IRD, Excise and Customs!!

    Gamaya Wednesday, 01 November 2023 07:31 AM

    Arent all these three departments under Finance Ministry? So who is responsible? The Minister should be sacked or better resign for being incompetent.

    Boru Na Atha .... Atha .... Atha .... (100% truth) Wednesday, 01 November 2023 07:45 AM

    Hon. President, please check with the Income Tax Department whether Mahinda Rajapakshe and his brothers, son's and Potuwa Members of Parliament are paying the Income Tax. And then go ahead with others.

    Do Doo Dooo Na Wednesday, 01 November 2023 07:48 AM

    The looted money sent to Uganda by Mahinda do you impose Tax? Arjun Mahendran did you impose Tax.? Why you are squeezing the necks of the normal person leaving all bogus superpowers.

    Disgusted citizen Wednesday, 01 November 2023 07:54 AM

    How about getting tough with the criminal rajapaksas that bankrupted the country? How about getting tough with the pearl express owners that wrecked marine life and the livelihood of countless fisherman ? Your were put in place by the criminals for protection and you perform this duty to perfection.

    Tinpot president and his criminal masters Wednesday, 01 November 2023 07:59 AM

    Why don't you get tough on your criminal masters who have sent billions of dollars stolen from the country to offshore accounts? You can't because you are one and the same, crook protecting crooks.

    The sleazy president Wednesday, 01 November 2023 08:05 AM

    Catch some small fry and put them in prison and feast with the mega crooks that bankrupted the country. That's how this president operates.

    Mee Masso Wednesday, 01 November 2023 08:08 AM

    High time KPI s are set and weekly progress is monitored or else ordinary people have to pay the price. Finance Ministry officials are also to blame for ineeficiencies in revenue authorities

    Nissanka Wednesday, 01 November 2023 08:38 AM

    Oh ! Somebody should get tough with the daylight cbsl robbery.

    Amaran Wednesday, 01 November 2023 09:08 AM

    President, please APPOINT an efficient and effective chief. 500,000 is nothing. What is he doing all these days?

    Sachith Wednesday, 01 November 2023 09:40 AM

    what a joker...he forgot that his henchmen are the biggest tax fraudsters.

    KD Wednesday, 01 November 2023 10:07 AM

    So go and directly fire these individuals. Its not so difficult

    Angry tax payers Wednesday, 01 November 2023 10:12 AM

    Sack these useless government servants. we cannot pay taxes like this

    Mori Wednesday, 01 November 2023 01:41 PM

    True sir...pls set up a task force that monitors customs and income tax revenues every where...tax payments for goods should be made via a transparent manner and investigate the officers who take money under the table...

    roni Wednesday, 01 November 2023 02:04 PM

    Easy way-out Fish out sugar fertilizer garlic Covid vaccine palm oil canned fish etc. importers. just a handful of files and the required taxes will be there in excess, It appears you are not penalizing the perpetrators as your survival hinges in keeping SLPP guys happy. Instead kill the small fries.


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