Sri Lanka should try to adopt the highly successful Bangladesh tax payer process model, said Assistant Secretary General and Regional Director Asia-Pacific at UNDP, Kanni Wignaraja.
During a meeting with State Minister for Finance Shehan Semasinghe yesterday she said that the Revenue Department of the former Bangladesh was accused of widespread corruption. “However, it has become a more effective and efficient institution due to the digitization and modernization of it.”
She said that subsequently this modernization process was spread to Bangladesh District and Regional Revenue Departments and it proved to be a major success. She said that the United Nations Development(UNDP) Program had studied several tax programs all over the world and found out that the main factor in expanding the tax net and getting more people to pay taxes is to simplify the entry process for paying taxes. “This should be done through digitalization.”
She also stressed that a clear message should be given to the public that everyone who opens a tax file/ tax number is not liable to pay taxes. State Minister Semasinghe stated that digitization of the tax network is a key priority of the government.
He also said that the government is working to expand the local revenue department by focusing on tax collection via the district secretaries as well.
Semasinghe indicated that tax revenue collection to the government is crucial during this ongoing reform process and indicated that any ‘revision’ can only be considered after the country reaches a stable state.
He also said that the Ministry of Finance has already received some complaints that some business institutions are adopting unethical practices to gain more profits for them and this area is being looked at.
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