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Inland Revenue Bill passed in Parliament

 

The Inland Revenue Bill was passed with a majority of 65 votes in Parliament this evening, incorporating more than 100 Amendments.

The Bill replaces the Inland Revenue Act No 10 of 2006.

Following a division called by the Opposition, 90 MPs voted in favour whereas 25 MPs voted against.

109 MPs were absent at the time of voting that was taken using newly installed electronic voting system.

The UNP, SLFP members in the Government ranks voted in favour, whereas the JVP and JO voted against. The TNA MPs were not in the chamber when the final vote was taken.     

Prior to that, the second reading of the Bill was passed with a majority of 59 votes. The Bill received 100 votes for and 41 against, while 83 members were absent at the time of the voting.

The UNP, SLFP members in the Government ranks and TNA voted in favour, whereas the JVP and JO voted against.     

Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera read out Amendments to the Bill one by one at its third reading, which took about 2 hours. All the Clauses the Supreme Court determined were inconsistent with the Constitution were revised as per the SC ruling. 

The Joint Opposition also came up with 31 Amendments and the JVP came up with 70 Amendments. The Government refused to accommodate some of them on the grounds that it is against the Standing Orders to include any Amendment that had not received the Cabinet approval. However, some of the proposals of the Opposition had already been included into the Amendments presented by the Government.

Minister Samaraweera further agreed to study all the other Amendments proposed by the JO and JVP and bring in a separate Amendment Bill before long accommodating what is agreeable to the Government.

Making the winding up speech, Finance State Minister Eran Wickramaratne pointed out the new legislation has restricted the space for Ministers to meddle in the affairs of taxes. He also insisted that no additional tax would be levied from places of worship, adding that the tax exemptions hitherto granted to them would remain. He implied that more tax concessions for SME sector and other needy sectors would be announced in the upcoming Budget.

He added that the Share Transactions Levy imposed on the Stock Market transactions would remain unchanged and the Capital Gains Tax would not apply to those transactions. The State Minister also clarified that provisions of the Bill related to corporate sector would come into effect only from April next year.