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By Rathindra Kuruwita

It will require huge amounts of human and physical resources for the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to open tax files for all Sri Lankans over 18 by January 2024, Secretary of the IRD Staff Officers Association J. T. Chandana has said.

Chandana is also a Deputy Commissioner at the IRD.There are significant shortages in both human and physical resources at the IRD, making the accomplishment of the task difficult, he has said.

“However, if the IRD plans to accomplish this, we need help from policy-makers. About 16 million tax files need to be opened by January 2024. Each tax file needs at least four pages. That is at least 64 million A4 sheets.”

The IRD also needs a large infusion of manpower for the task. The IRD currently has 262 unfilled vacancies. 68 persons have passed exams, almost six months ago, to join the IRD but the Cabinet of Ministers have not approved their appointments.

“These are graduates with classes. We urge the government to look into this.”

Chandana has also said that everyone over 18 will have to be given a Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the IRD. However, a person has to pay taxes only if he or she earns more than 1.2 million rupees a year.

“There are many people in Sri Lanka who make more than 1.2 million rupees a year, but have not opened a tax file. We need to bring them into the tax net. We can reduce the 36 percent of personal tax if everyone is registered with the Department,” he has said, adding that already many people have started opening tax files.

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