The government will appoint a Taxation Commission in a bid to 'simplify' the tax structure, according to Sumith Abeysinghe, new Secretary to the Treasury.
Addressing the budget seminar organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka recently, he said this will be done soon.
Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal told The Sunday Times FT on the sidelines of the seminar that this new commission will be set up before the end of the year.
Mr. Cabraal noted that the government is looking at an oil bill of US$ 3.5 billion next year. "These are challenges. The thrust of the budget is to ensure that exports are given a boost."
Deputy Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), Anura Ekanayake noted that the public policy has to be geared towards both the revival of the agricultural economy and also the exports.
Chandra Jayaratne, a former CCC Chairman, commenting on “What Business and Professionals must do in the next 14 months” noted that business and professionals must begin to practice effectively “Enterprise Risk Management”. “Beginning immediately with risk assessments, risk identification and profiling, grading risks according to priorities based on probability and severity, develop mitigation strategies and action plans need to be implemented with accountability,” he said.
He also noted that arising from the recent economic and financial market crisis led recessions, job losses, reduced consumption spends, and ill-liquidity in developed markets along with lower aid and grants to developing economies, especially Tea, Rubber, Coconut, Tourism, Port/Aviation Services will affect the country. N.R. Gajendran, Partner of the tax consulting firm, Gajma Company Ltd noted that there is procedural red tape at the IRD when submitting tax returns. "You must accept the returns when a person submits it even if it is a blank sheet of paper," he said.
He asked the crowd how many had the experience of being turned back by the IRD when they went to submit their returns, on account of the submission being wrong, etc. To this more than half the room had their hands up, while Ms. Lakmali Nanayakkara, Partner KMPG who was at the head table also put her hand up. Mr. Gajendran was seen lifting both his hands up, evoking much mirth from the gathering.
"The basis of malpractice and corruption is because there is only one person at the IRD looking into 'all' the taxes. This is like the temple till being robbed," he added.