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Background to the modules on Sri Lanka’s Income Tax Law

Aug 23, 2011 4:27:07 PM - www.ft.lk

The will and capacity of Parliament are essential for the good government of the country. The presence of a will is a good fortune of the people. Capacity is a function of resources that are essential for effective government.

Revenue is an essential resource. Taxes are an important part of revenue. Income tax is the oldest of the tax instruments used in modern times to raise revenue and stimulate or curb selected sectors of the economy on grounds of public policy. It dates back to 1932 when Ceylon was a colony of Britain.
This series of modules on the income tax law of Sri Lanka attempt to describe and explain the law of income tax in essence, as it stands enacted in the Inland Revenue Act No. 10 of 2006 read with subsequent amendments.
Undue length in a tax narration may make it boring to intelligent readers and taxpayers who want to know the why of things and are not prepared to suffer the tedium of reading laboured and long writing which is packed into thick volumes. These articles are not aimed to be a substitute for a textbook but are designed as a stimulus to the questing reader and taxpayer.
Advanced students of taxation may find the articles useful though not comprehensive. References to sections in the body of the articles are to those of the Inland Revenue Act No. 10 of 2006, unless otherwise specified.  
My qualification to write these articles is based on knowledge gained through the training and experience I received as a tax official (1956-1980) in the Department of Income Tax/Inland Revenue, Ceylon/Sri Lanka and my later experience and self-development in the tax field, gathered as a staff consultant with Coopers & Lybrand Associates, Sri Lanka (1982-1993) and PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Sri Lanka.
I also developed useful insights from teaching professional students of taxation at the Sri Lanka Institute of Taxation.
I owe a deep debt of gratitude to all of them. These articles do not deal with the legal aspects of tax returns, assessments, appeals, collection and recovery of tax. I take the responsibility for any weaknesses or omissions in the presentation of the subject matter and hope to receive constructive suggestions from readers.
(The writer is a tax consultant and past President of the Sri Lanka Institute of Taxation. He has taught taxation to the professional students of the institute and served as an examiner for the professional examinations. He is a writer on tax topics and his articles have been published locally in some newspapers as well as the Sri Lanka Tax Review journal. His specialised articles have been published internationally in the Reports of the Annual Congresses of the International Fiscal Association based in The Hague, The Netherlands. He is the Immediate Past Chairman of IFA – Sri Lanka Branch.) He can be contacted on email at: tsam@sltnet.lk.

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