Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister unveils plan to recover Rs. 1,000 Billion in Unpaid Taxes

Lotus tower in Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Finance, Dr. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, has submitted a detailed report to Parliament outlining measures to recover over Rs. 1,000 billion in unpaid taxes.

At a press conference, Dr. Siyambalapitiya addressed accusations of negligence in tax collection. He praised the Inland Revenue Department and Customs for exceeding their revenue targets this year, acknowledging that while mistakes happen, officials have largely fulfilled their duties.

Dr. Siyambalapitiya explained that tax arrears have accumulated for valid reasons, such as the tax appeal process and significant tax obligations of public institutions. To tackle this, he proposed speeding up judicial processes for tax recovery and exploring ways to either collect outstanding taxes from government institutions or eliminate them.

He noted that some tax deficits date back about 25 years, highlighting the problem’s complexity and duration. His report to Parliament includes a scientific approach to these issues, and a more detailed report will be presented in the future.