Surcharge Tax Bill in accordance with Constitution – Supreme Court

Sri Lanka Parliament and Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has informed the Speaker that the Surcharge Tax Bill can be passed with a simple majority in Parliament as it is in accordance with the Constitution, Deputy Speaker Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told the House yesterday (March 22).

The Bill had been challenged in the Supreme Court in terms of Article 121(1) of the Constitution, by at least 10 parties including the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB).

On an overall consideration of the provisions of the Bill, the Supreme Court had arrived at the conclusion that neither the Bill nor any of its provisions is inconsistent with Article 12 or Article 13 of the Constitution, the Deputy Speaker said.

The Surcharge Tax Bill was presented to Parliament by Leader of the House, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on 22 February.  The Bill was published in the Gazette on 7 February.

It was proposed in the 2022 Budget to impose a 25 per cent surcharge tax on individuals or companies earning an annual taxable income of Rs 2,000 million or more.

However, concerns were raised by experts, Opposition politicians as well as members of the Government including, Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva that the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and the Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF) would also be subjected to this 25 per cent surcharge.

On 2 March, the Attorney General undertook before the Supreme Court that the Surcharge Tax Bill would be amended to exempt 13 funds including the EPF and the ETF, at the Committee Stage.

(Source: Ceylon Today – By Methmalie Dissanayake)