Sinhala (Sri Lanka)Tamil (Sri Lanka)


    Font size
  • Increase font size
  • Decrease font size

CA Sri Lanka states Chartered Accountants play an important role in building bridges between the Inland Revenue Department and tax payers

In response to a recent newspaper article the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) has written a letter to the Acting Commissioner General of the Inland Revenue Department refuting the allegations against Tax Consultants.

In a letter addressed to Ms. R.M.R.W. Manchanayake, Acting Commissioner General of Inland Revenue, President of CA Sri Lanka Arjuna Herath stated that CA Sri Lanka is disturbed by the contents of the article under reference which appears to be based on a communication between a newspaper and the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). The letter further stated that “CA Sri Lanka is understandably disturbed by this news article as majority of Tax Consultants who act as authorized representative are members of the Institute. As such we believe by referring to tax consultants in general in the article, it has brought immense harm to the image of our members practicing as authorized representatives.”

A statement issued by CA Sri Lanka states that,“Authorized Representatives referred to as tax consultants in the newspaper article under reference is a formal legislated role to assist IRD and tax payers in tax compliance. These authorized representatives play an invaluable role in educating the tax payers on their obligations and compliance requirements.At the same time they assist IRD officials to understand client’s circumstances/ context in applying the tax rules and regulations appropriately ensuring a fair enforcement of tax rules/ regulations and efficient collection of tax. Our members who are authorized representatives have played a significant role in building bridges between the IRD officials and tax payers and improving efficiency of tax collection. We believe, if not for the authorized representatives the cost of tax administration will be far greater than what it is today particularly given the very frequent changes in tax policy and tax regulations.”

The CA Sri Lanka statement goes on to state the tax paying obligation is well defined through legislation and regulations and there should be no subjectivity and ambiguity in fulfilling tax obligations. In this context there should be no room for discretion or concessions. The tax payers are also intelligent and knowledgeable about their tax obligations as it forms a significant cost of doing business. Further, a fair amount of time and effort is put in by CA Sri Lanka and authorized representatives in educating tax payers on tax legislation and regulations. Hence, it is not clear as to how the authorized representative can mislead the tax payer on obtaining concessions.

CA Sri Lanka is the foremost national professional accounting body set up by an act of Parliament over a half a century ago and is engaged in the field of taxation since it’s inception; from grooming students to become skilled professionals,and to consistently harnesses the skills in taxation among its members and those outside such as officials of the Inland Revenue Department, members of other professions and the general public on all matters connected with taxation. The Institute is the only body with a full Tax Faculty consistently engaging both members and outsiders on matters related to taxation. The Tax faculty and its members provide valuable input on an ongoing basis in the formulation of national tax policy by engaging both the Inland Revenue Department and the Ministry of Finance. It is the only body that publishes many manuals on Taxation, conducts an annual Tax Oration and a series of seminars and workshops whilst engaging with the Inland Revenue Department on a consistent basis.

CA Sri Lanka emphasizes that it is important that the Inland Revenue Department and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka forge a strong partnership in the transformation of the tax compliance environment and culture in this country and in the proper implementation of the tax policy of the government.CA Sri Lanka states that they will continue to work with IRD to improve capacity to respond to the needs of taxpayers and to improve the capabilities in relation to concepts such as understanding tax obligation based on greater commercial awareness, impartiality, proportionality, openness (disclosure and transparency), and responsiveness.

The letter by CA Sri Lanka to the Acting Commissioner General of Inland Revenue also requests her to refer to the Institute with proof and evidence of any member of the institute who is found to be involved in any malpractice as suggested in the article under reference.The letter states such process would assist the Institute in conducting its own disciplinary inquiry to investigate if such members have acted in violation of the Institute’s code of ethics.