Petitions challenging Inland Revenue Bill fixed for argument on July 18 | Daily News

Petitions challenging Inland Revenue Bill fixed for argument on July 18

Ten Special Determination petitions filed challenging the bill titled “Inland Revenue" were yesterday fixed for argument on July 18 by Supreme Court.

Ten petitioners including MP Bandula Gunawardane and Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) Secretary Amal Randeniya are seeking a declaration that bill shall become law only through a two-third majority in Parliament and approval at a referendum.

The petitioners stated that a bill titled “Inland Revenue", a Bill to provide for the imposition of income tax for any year of assessment commencing on or after April 1, 2017 was presented to the Parliament and placed on Order Paper of the Parliament on July 5, 2017. In his petition MP Bandula Gunawardane stated that the Bill is intended in introducing a new system and a discipline of taxation which deviates from and is inconsistent with the Directive principles of State Policy and Fundamental Duties of the State as provided in Chapter VI of the Constitution, where it is stated –inter alia- in Article 27 of the Constitution that the objectives of the state should include (a) The promotion of the welfare of the People (b) ensuring social security and welfare (c) elimination of economic and social privilege and disparity and the exploitation of man by man or by the State (c) to ensure that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and the means of production to the common detriment.

Filing this petition through Senior Counsel Kanishka Vitharana, Gunawardane stated that clauses of the said Bill, are in violation of Articles of the Constitution.

(a) As per the clauses 135 and 136 of the Bill, when amending the additional assessment, the Commissioner General shall not be obliged to give reasons for not accepting the returns submitted by the taxpayer.

Giving reasons has been a mandatory requirement for the validity of the written notice to be given by the Commissioner General to the taxpayer in rejecting or amending the self-assessment stated in the returns. Accordingly this clause of the Bill shall;

a. Remove a privilege and a right enjoyed by the tax payer under the existing law;

b. Deprives the taxpayer of the fundamental right to know why the tax authority not accepting his return;

c. Deprives the tax payer of the opportunity to give specific reasons and grounds for appeal in referring an appeal against the decision of the Commissioner General in terms of clause 139 and 140 of the bill.

The Supreme Court bench comprised Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justice Anil Goonaratne and Justice Nalin Perera. 


 

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