Sunday, January 29, 2023

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SL tax collection becomes problematic with malfunctioning RAMIS

Sri Lanka Government is facing an obstacle in achieving the budget 2023 tax revenue target of 69 percent increase in revenue collection of Rs. 3,130 billion from this year’s estimate of Rs. 1,852 billion due to malfunctioning of Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS).

The RAMIS software system introduced at Inland Revenue Department in 2016 spending around Rs. 13 billion was ot properly functioning making it impossible for tax officers to send the returns according to the 2017 policy through this system and collect the taxes.

The IRD officials have brought to the notice of the finance ministry about this matter but no action has been taken up to now

H A L Udayasiri, Secretary of the Inland Revenue Service Union said an expert committee should be appointed to look into problems in the Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS).

The RAMIS system was originally to come from an Asian Development Bank loan but it had been rejected and leading to the current crisis, he claimed.

He said “The new Social Security Contribution Tax has now come. We told the Commissioner General not to put that also on this system and mess that up also. When state revenues are down the Departments gets blamed. We have also asked the Ministry (of Finance) about this.”

Udayasiri alleged that the Asian Development Bank was originally going to fund the information system in 2014 but some officials had decided to change the supplier.

“We do not know why the ADB conditions were not adhered to,” Udayasiri said. “The ADB loan was rejected. If matters were done according to what the ADB said this RAMIS system would be successful today.”

The malfunction of the RAMIS system was taken into the discussion yesterday (28) at the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA).

During the meeting, the Auditor General pointed out that the Inland Revenue Department is refusing to give him necessary details with regard to the agreement on the RAMIS system and it is a violation of the Constitution.

 As of 30 June 2022, the department has a total Rs 773 billion in tax dues, fines and interest. Out of that, Rs 201 billion could be earned without any legal obstacle while earning Rs 572 billion has been halted owing to several reasons.

The Auditor General has recognised this sum as the due income that should be charged under both RAMIS and Legacy systems.

When queried as to why the above Rs 201 billion has not been collected as yet, the department officials said the sum is being charged in instalments. COPA Chairman Kabir Hashim then instructed the officials to present a report, on how they expect to charge this sum, to the committee soon.

Furthermore, the Auditor General noted that despite giving instructions at several committee meetings to repair the RAMIS system, the Inland Revenue Department has failed to do so.

Therefore, COPA instructed the department officials to provide a report within one month on how to repair the RAMIS system and make it operational.

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