Business

Dhammika settled casino taxes 10 days before National List nomination

  • IRD reveals Rs. 1.15 billion in unpaid taxes settled on 30 May
  • One-off tax imposed in 2015 on casinos not paid in one go
  • IRD never agreed to levy Rs. 1 bn in instalments 

 

 

By Imesh Ranasinghe 

Dhammika Perera had paid overdue taxes totalling Rs. 1,150 million incurred through his casino businesses on 30 May, when it was reported that he would take a position in the Government, Inland Revenue Department (IRD) Deputy Commissioner General (Tax Administration) Manjula Gunatunga revealed to the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA).

In 2015, the then-Government imposed a Rs. 1 billion one-off tax on each of the four casino businesses operating in Sri Lanka, but the four casinos, which are owned by leading businessmen in Sri Lanka, had not paid the amount in one go.

However, Gunatunga said, the casinos had started to pay the tax in instalments, although the IRD did not agree on an instalment method for making the payments.

Thus, based on the Auditor General’s recommendation, the IRD had taken the matter to the courts, and has filed the cases against the business owners, as the casinos are not registered under the Company Act.

Gunatunga said that two of the casinos, owned by Ravi Wijeratne, had paid two instalments of Rs. 240 million, while the other two casinos, one owned by Dhammika Perera and the other by his brother Anuradha Perera, had paid two instalments of Rs. 425 million.

Gunatunga said that when the media reported that a certain individual (Dhammika Perera) who owned two of the casinos was going to take up a position in the Government, the two casinos paid the remaining instalments of Rs. 575 million each (a total of Rs. 1,150 million) on 30 May.

Further, IRD Acting Commissioner General D.R.S.Hapuarachchi​ ​​​said that the IRD will open new tax files based on the declarations made under the Tax on Voluntary Disclosure, on future revenues generated that could be taxed through the sale of the stock of goods declared under the said amnesty. 

He said the IRD has earned Rs. 4 billion from the 1% tax imposed on the assets, income, and supplies declared under the Tax on Voluntary Disclosure, with 4,100 declarations made.

He said although past tax evasion is not considered, some taxpayers who have ongoing businesses have declared large stock of items under the tax amnesty.

Hapuarachchi said that by selling those stocks there could be a further increase in revenue which is taxable. 

“So we have decided to open new tax files based on those declarations for situations where there is a tax liability,” he added.