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The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) has questioned the failure on the part of the Inland Revenue Department to collect Rs 904 bn at a time the country was experiencing severe financial difficulties.

The Parliament said that the total arrears in taxes, penalties and interest, due to the Inland Revenue Department, by December 31, 2022 under RAMIS and Legacy systems, is Rs. 904,342,180,778 (904 billion).

It has been revealed that Rs. 163,425,093,401 (163 billion) can be collected without any legal concern, and Rs. 740,917,087,377 (740 billion) has been identified as revenue that has been temporarily suspended due to various reasons.

The Auditor General has also pointed out that this amount has been identified as tax arrears to be collected under both RAMIS and Legacy systems and there was a discussion at length about not collecting the revenue due that could be collected off this tax arrears.

Chairman of COPA State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna ordered that a report be submitted to COPA specifying how to collect the tax arrears at least in installments. The Chair also ordered that a separate report be given on the total outstanding tax amount of Rs 904 billion.

This was disclosed when the COPA met recently to review the current performance and progress of the Inland Revenue Department.

It was also revealed that the RAMIS computer system was not functioning properly and that there were no trained personnel to operate the system.

State Minister Diana Gamage, Members of Parliament Niroshan Perera, J. C. Alawathuwala, Sivagnanam Sritharan, Hector Appuhamy, Isuru Dodangoda, and (Dr.) Harini Amarasuriya were present at the Committee meeting .

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