18 January, 2021

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Let’s Withhold Tax Payments Until MPs Pay Back Defrauded Tax On Car Permits

By Nagananda Kodituwakku

Nagananda Kodituwakku

Nagananda Kodituwakku

The State Minister of Finance Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena on the 25th of October 2016, responding to a question raised by media on MP tax free car permits being sold in the open market said that ‘selling of duty-free car permits made available to them was not a big issue’ and they had been following that practice for a long time raising money and therefore it was not a contentious matter though it was contrary to the law.

When the same question was put to Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake by the BBC fortnight ago he said ‘tax-free permit is an asset to a MP and therefore there is nothing wrong in selling them.’ Yet, he refused to accept that MPs were selling their permits defrauding the government tax revenue.

Now I invite the readers to examine the view expressed by the Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake presenting his maiden budget on 20th Nov 2015 on the abuse of tax-free car permits during the previous Mahinda Rajapakse regime; which is self-explanatory.

… Honorable Speaker, the vehicle permit schemes have been politicized and misused and have created a huge revenue loss over Rs. 40 billion a year to the Government. I propose to abolish all the vehicle permits granted under different schemes, including to Parliamentarians. However, I ensure all government officers will be financially compensated for the benefit foregone. Further, all the vehicles purchased to the Government will be subject to all applicable taxes and necessary allocations will be provided in the Budget…

Yet, the people are aware that the same Minister re-commenced issuing of tax-free car permits to all 225 MPs within a period of three months from making this bold statement, seemingly to insult the intelligence of the people.

Being an investigative public interests litigation activist I have conducted an in-depth study into this abuse and found out that the total loss to the government revenue would be over 7 billion rupees as the result of the re-launching the tax-free car permit scheme for MPs by the Yahapalanaya administration.

By the end of the month of October 2016, 77 vehicles had been imported on these tax-permits, defrauding tax revenue, for instance, Rs 33,459,250 for a Toyota Land Cruiser and Rs 44,701,750 for a Hummer jeep. There are more vehicles arriving at the port on regular basis.

It is disheartening to note that this kind of utter waste of public funds is being taking place while people are being burdened with heavy taxes and are being compelled to protest against the budget proposals for the fiscal year 2016/17. It is also noted that the government has also proposed to allocate Rs 700,000/- per month for a vehicle that would be acquired on ‘Operational lease basis’ for 58 government MPs. This is on top of 225 tax-free permits already issued for unjust enrichment by defrauding the government’s tax revenue.

The citizenry should realize that the government is abusing their tax money with no benefit whatsoever to the taxpayers.

The need to compel the government to recoup the defrauded tax revenue

The only option available to the people now is to launch an aggressive campaign compelling the government to rethink of its fiscal policy concerning the tax-free car permit schemes.

Initiative proposed: Withholding income tax payments

People keep on paying their tax dues with hard-earned money to be used by the government only for the public goods and not for the private benefit of the politicians. As illustrated above, the government is just playing with tax-revenue as it pleases with no regard to its constitutional obligation of ‘eliminating economic and social privilege and disparity and exploitation by the State’ [Article 27(7) of the Constitution].

Therefore, I have taken an initiative to withhold my income tax payment for the fiscal year 2015/16 until such time the government takes measures to recover the tax revenue defrauded by the MPs on their tax-free car permits.

The Commissioner General of Inland Revenue was informed on 18th November 2016 and accordingly and my ‘tax return’ without accompanying the payment due and explaining the grounds for withholding the payment. The necessary funds to meet the income due is secured in the bank under advice to release the same once the government respects its duty to recover the tax-revenue defrauded by those are holding office in the Legislature and in the Executive.

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Latest comments

  • 18
    0

    What a fantastic Idea! This is Real Democracy!

  • 15
    1

    Well done Nagananda..it’s a pity though that most Sri Lankans are spineless doormats.

  • 16
    1

    Dear NK,

    These yamapalanaya jokers will continue to defraud the people who voted them in no matter what you do. This is Sri Lanka. The primary purpose of all politicians of Sri Lanka who come to power is to enrich themselves. And the sad thing is they always get away with it. The impunity with which they defraud the people and the scorn and disregard they show to the opinion of the polity is not the domain of one particular party only. Unuth horu, munuth horu.

    You are the only person who stands up to the politician fraudsters of Sri Lanka. You are a brave man. Sadly withholding tax will give the yahapalanaya fraudsters the excuse they need to shut you up. Don’t be surprised if some sort of legal action is taken against you. It is not beyond these utterly corrupt and reprehensible con artists and fraudsters to throw you in jail. I hope you have a Plan B.

  • 17
    0

    Even better Let’s Withhold Tax Payments Until action is taken against the Rajapaksas criminals and all the stolen money recovered…

    Now that would be something half of Sri Lanka would go for….

  • 14
    1

    I cannot understand how these monkeys like Karunanayaka declare that the permit is an asset given to MPs and Minsters, to do whatever they like with them. What a cop out?
    They said that they needed these vehicles to discharge their minsterial and MP duties to the public and they could not do it with any other vehicle. Have they forgotten that by selling their permit they were depriving some other minster or MP that might need the vehcile more urgently and genuinely to discharge their public service duties. They are defrauding the country, the tax man, and the people. All of them are anti social vultures as far as I am concerned, crooks that do not deserve to hold public trust or public positions of responsibility. Jail is the right place for them.

  • 9
    1

    Nagananda Kodituwakku:

    This a very proposal. Sri lankan should not pay tax until becomes fair.

    Don’t expect anything fair from politicians. Public votes for the prime minister and the president. But, they are puppets of other elected MPS and not for the voters. See how maithripala reappointed those who lose elections and now he is trying to justify it. See how Ranil wickramsinghe is proposging Salary increases to MPs and more new Car permits.

    They should collect funds for elections by the party and not by the individuals. Because, it is the individual who spends for his own election, they need car permits, they have their own charity organization or the foundation and that is corruption.

    See how Ranil is saying why they can not find good indivuals as MPs and they need more salary hikes. that is all manipulation and exploitation, they continue it until the country goes bankrupt.

    If only the party is allowed to collect funds, then lot of corruptions will be stopped.

  • 8
    1

    Nagananda Kodituwakku

    RE: Let’s Withhold Tax Payments Until MPs Pay Back Defrauded Tax On Car Permits

    “Being an investigative public interests litigation activist I have conducted an in-depth study into this abuse and found out that the total loss to the government revenue would be over 7 billion rupees as the result of the re-launching the tax-free car permit scheme for MPs by the Yahapalanaya administration.”

    “to them was not a big issue’ and they had been following that practice for a long time raising money and therefore it was not a contentious matter though it was contrary to the law.”

    Thank you for exposing. Well, expose, expose and expose until something happens.

    Do you think a naked dog, or a naked politician cares that like the dog, that they are naked on these matters?

    No, No and No!

  • 10
    1

    May God bless you Sir, Mr Kodituwaaku.

    That Finance Minister must be the father of all liars.

    UNP Pin Up boy Sene sold the Car Permit for LKR 34 Million to a Muslim.

    And it was in the CT..But this Finance Minister never heard about it.

    I am glad you finally gave some good advice the the Yahapalana suckers who are in the PAYE Tax bracket.

    Now even those un elected MPS are going to get LKR 500,000 each to buy Gasolene , because Bodhi Sira and Batalanada Ranil felt sorry for them catching the 106 to Kotte.

    What a joke. .

    And the

    • 0
      0

      This kind of rot started with Jayawardana, and it was your boss Mahinda R that abused this system to the maximum. Whatever happened to the vehicles that he and his family and hangers on had imported without paying tax? The current regime I agree is no better, following the same principle of providing spring boards for jumping frogs. Bl***y baskets, all of them!

  • 8
    1

    RK has become the santa clown of the legislators. He cannot be trusted of what is said by him. Obviously there is backing from seniors. Ordinary public can understand the daylight robbery. Also can understand that they are breaking the fundamental rights of the constitution. Legislators has taken over the powers of most of the statutory bodies and President and PM are the custodians of people’s rights. When they keep quiet,what can the powerless general public do? Obviously its daylight robbery. People can only vote all of them out at the next election. NK, how can the poor non tax paying public avoid paying VAT and Tax on basic items? We are left with only a shameless President and a Shameless PM.

  • 7
    1

    All tax payers must follow Nagananda until these blood sucking parliamentarians pay their due taxes to the govt.

  • 7
    2

    Sri Lankans citizens one and all should stop paying taxes and let the economy crash. Time to get rid of Ranil Wickramasinghe who is corrupt to the core.

    The CULTURE OF IMPUNITY AND IMMUNITY for Financial Crime for corrupt and criminal politicians has reached an all time high under JaraPalanaya Govt. of Ranil and Sira.

    MONEY POLITICS and the political culture of corruption has reached new heights under Ranil and Ravi K. They are corrupt to the core, and have even out done Mahinda Jarapassa and his brothers and sons, while protecting them from investigations in the name of reconciliation and inclusion to boot!

    Ranil Wickramasinghe must he held accountable for the Bond Scam. He is trying to bride politicians to turn a blind eye to that with car permits and salary rises while the people of Sri Lanka are being BEGGARED.

    Wickramasinghe is adding insult to injury caused by the Central Bank Bond Scam in league with Arjuna Mahendran and Perpetual Treasuries thieves. Ravi K. have not only insulted the intelligence of the people of Sri Lanka they have systematically expanded the CULTURE OF IMPUNITY AND IMMUNITY for corrupt politicians, their families and cronies, while destroying Institutions like the Central Bank.

  • 8
    1

    Beats me why they were given this permit in the first place, they obviously didn’t need a new car if they were going to sell it anyways… I think these permits should be given to MPs who don’t have transport – or standardize it and give them Duty Free Tata Jeeps only!!!

    If an MP sells their gift from us, it means he has no value for our gift which in turn, annuls it as a Duty Free Gift. The MPs who sold, must pay the Duty which is our Gift OR use our gift for their daily transport!!!

    The irony – we gave them duty free cars worth millions which they sold/selling and the price of 1 lime fruit is Rs 30.00, a ciggie Rs 50, water up by 30%… This is called “Chicken Logic”….

    Cheers Ravi K, PM and President…

    • 1
      0

      Why do elected Politicians need Luxury Vehicles? I have still to see a Politician who goes round his Electorate in a Vehicle, listening to and rectifying any Problems of the People.

      Most of them expect the People to come to Them with their Concerns and Complaints; of course Bearing the Obligatory ‘Pagaa’

  • 8
    1

    The people of Sri Lanka are being BEGGARED by corrupt politicians who have become a super CASTE of parasites in Sri Lanka. Great idea to withhold income tax!

    Ranil is now trying to bribe politicians of ALL parties with car permits and salary rises, so they will turn a blind eye to his bond scam and the Cope Report. This is an insult to the intelligence of people of Sri Lanka.

    Ranil Wickramasinghe must he held ACCOUNTABLE for the Bond Scam and the
    the stink of corruption that rises from the Parliament of corrupt Morons where the culture of impunity for Bribery and corruption has hit the roof!Sri Lankans citizens one and all should stop paying taxes til corrupt politicians pay theirs.

  • 6
    0

    Good idea. I’m with you !!

    /Hunu paiya

  • 8
    1

    We need to expose all the MPs who have sold their vehicle permits for millions until they pay back the lost tax revenues to the government.

    The shameful and ugly Tamil MPs so far are:

    Sritharan Sivagnanam, Killinochi MP
    Mavi Senathiraja, Jaffna MP and Thamilarsu Katchi Leader
    Sivamohan, Vavuniya MP

    Please check also at the New Jaffna website which the Tamil MPs tried hard to block but failed. We, the readers, decide about a website to read or ignore but not the MPs who think that their shameful deals are exposed in the website.

  • 7
    1

    Good suggestion ,Can we start from the very beginning ? otherwise it will be open Hypocrisy and prejudice .

    Can we start from The Time this practice started ? at-least can we start tracing the violators from the past regime , I can responsibly state only from the permits sold by the MPS & Professionals during the the last regime,you can easily cover the budget deficit, and most probably you will not need the World bank’s pay outs.

    You need to be unbiased and the critic must level his or her accusation to all who are party to breaking the law, this is the problem in Sri Lanka, they forget too soon , Even the the people who criticize and condemn never stop to think it is wrong to be bias ,
    ========================================================================
    quote Oh men and women who curse my sins and condemn me to the worse death ,to be followed by eternal torment of hell fire , have you ever thought for a moment, whatever you bring upon me may be no different from what your own parents, your grandparents , your siblings ,your children , your kin , why may be even you may have committed ,though different,But in the judgement of God it could be even worse .(Anonymous )
    ========================================================================
    let by gone be by gone , start fresh enact new regulations and be sincere in implementing it from day one and forgive and forget the past . History always repeats and it should not , only by forgiving and forgetting past and starting a fresh it can be stopped,only you can stop History from repeating.

    Do you not believe you deserve a second chance in life? So does everyone.

    Give the Government some breathing time ,we gave ,some of us willing & some unwilling the time for many governments of the past.

    let us see The Finance Minister’s new proposal, though it may upset a lot of people who have been enjoying unfair privileges and one must remember it is always we the public who have created the opportunity for such unfair practices ,most people want to achieve a lot of things with no sweat, as long as there are no buyers of these permits ,there will be no MPS selling their permits, so let the new legislation enact a a greater penalty for the purchaser in future .

    Be fair in your Judgement ..

  • 8
    0

    Try it!!!
    Inland Revenue will cease your banks in no time, it is obvious they cease even when you pay sometimes, you will be out of business in no time.

    • 4
      1

      Can’t we withdraw all the money in our accounts and whatever is in the safe boxes and keep it buried or something? I am prepared to withdraw all the money I have in my NRFC accounts.

      If many of us do it, it should create a run on the banks and the government will have to kneel and stop the selling of such or even the import of such.

  • 5
    1

    Good Idea. I offer my full support.

  • 7
    1

    Excellent idea, Nagananda!

    But could you please explain what, if any, repercussions (from the IRS) will follow such an action?

    As to the main gist of your post – the pre-election lies and hypocrisy of the present administration exemplifies the problem with our corrupt politicians and Ravi K is a leading contender for ‘Liar of the Year’, along with MS.

  • 4
    1

    Mahatma Gandhi called his campaign Civil disobedience. We can call this Financial Disobedience.

    I am sorry guys. It is not nice to tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. As I am working abroad for the last two decades, I do not have a tax file and consequently not paying any tax. So I don’t make any sacrifices here. But I will support you to the hilt (or as the bajar language goes mama bokkenma support) in any way I can, like bringing you guys weekend Briyani packets when you are in jail.

  • 5
    1

    Can the Puravesi Peramuna take up this issue and inform the people to withhold the payment of all taxes until the government rectify this anomaly. Also where the parliamentarians have sold the duty free vehicles the government should be forced to recover the taxes from the buyers.

  • 4
    0

    LAL Silva -Good one LOL

  • 1
    1

    Whom to be asked??? Rogues, Thieves and the Rule of Law is from the same source!!!?

  • 5
    1

    If all tax payers are unied, then IRD cannot grab our accounts. We as a nation should raise a big noise and take this bunch of crooked buffoons to the courts and have the courts declare these “duty free” rubbished. This is absolute rubbish. They blatantly abuse the people and get away with it. I have always voted for the UNP but now it will be the JVP. Lets try them.

    • 6
      0

      kumaran, you say “If all tax payers are united” and that is a BIG IF. In this country, there are 12 opinions when we have 10 people. There are plenty of opinions but a real shortage of unity.

      I agree that JVP is the right solution. Let us make it very clear to the rulers that that is what we are going to do.

  • 1
    8

    Duty Free Car imports (by politicians)- Is it a loss to Government revenue? Let’s look at the actual transaction step by step.

    STEP 1: The Government Issues a Duty Free Permit. No cost to the Government.

    STEP 2: Vehicle is ordered from overseas supplier. No cost to the Government. CIF value is paid (usually by LC) by the importer.

    STEP 3: Vehicle is cleared from customs. No cost to the Government. It can be argued that there is an “opportunity cost”. However that is merely academic.

    STEP 4: Vehicle is sold to a private buyer. No cost to the Government. Buyer pays the Importer.

    STEP 5: Profit made on sale. No cost to the Government.

    From the above it is apparent that yes… the politician (or whoever who has the duty free permit) stands to earn a profit from the transaction. However, the government can never earn that “profit” as it is not in the business of buying and selling cars!

    In fact it is a better option for the Government to give a Duty Free permit rather than a Salary Increase to a politician so that the politician earns the additional income from a private buyer (of the vehicle) who can afford to pay for such a vehicle rather than the Government – which would have to effectively pay from part of its tax revenue.

    Sorry Mr Kodituwakku; your analysis is either flawed or coloured (by politics).

    • 8
      0

      Analyst, your logic is flawed. Supposing they had to pay the duty surely they will think twice before deciding on such expensive vehicles. The duty on the vehicles for common man was increased to reduce imports of vehicles on the same theory. Similarly, the MP’s would be importing less expensive vehicles with smaller engine capacity. This means less drain of foreign exchange and less on fuel for the life of the vehicle, which saves foreign exchange and produces less pollution.

      In fact the MP’s should be forced to set an example to the common man on such things and not be spoilt in this manner.

      NG your idea is great. Let us do it!

    • 5
      0

      Financial Analyst

      In order to buy that car the country needs to earn foreign exchange. How many maids have to be exported to Medieval Middle East Kingdoms?

      The Tax could be an additional cost to the buyer in order to save precious foreign exchange, which the country do not have or cannot afford.

      Allocation of foreign exchange for the luxury item become reasonable if taxed.

      The tax is an additional cost to the purchaser who wants to waste foreign exchange to buy luxuries which ordinary people can only dream of.

      Nothing comes free, there is no such thing as free lunch.

      Why can’t these crooks use three wheelers to travel and get about?

      Maybe the state should consider maintaining a fleet of three wheelers which the MPs can use for strictly official purposes.

      I wonder why you are so keen to give the crooks Tax breaks as if they are so poor and cannot afford to pay tax.

      These are handouts crooks can do without.

    • 2
      0

      I have been thinking about the Financial Analyst idea to allow duty free vehicles for MP’s. It is a brilliant idea that can be extended to solve the financial problems of the poor. Let the government issue licenses to the Samurdhi recipients to import duty free vehicles, in place of the measly dole they get. Immediately there will be huge demand for these from the super rich. The Samurdhi Labhi will get a huge amount of money by selling these.

      After the first wave is over, we move on to the next layer of poverty and so on it goes until we have no more poor.

      The government saves money, the poor get rich and the rich get duty free luxury vehicles. Not since Karl Marx has such a method been discovered to balance out social inequalities.

      Congratulations Financial Analyst. You are sure to get the Nobel prize for economics next year.

  • 4
    0

    Dear Financial Analyst,

    Then why not give us all such permits. In fact, why impose tax at all? Your logic is fantastic!

  • 1
    0

    Nagananda,

    Thank you for your idea. I have during some time been thinking about decreasing my financial support to the government as a protest. I am also hopeful that growing economic problems will force our politicians to start real work. Less revenue, more problems and then CHANGE!

    I intend to cut down on the amount of money the government and state companies receive from me.

    “tax-free permit is an asset to a MP and therefore there is nothing wrong in selling them.”

    All the tax free and lower tax permits are assets and there is a big market.

    “It is also noted that the government has also proposed to allocate Rs 700,000/- per month for a vehicle that would be acquired on ‘Operational lease basis’ for 58 government MPs. This is on top of 225 tax-free permits already issued for unjust enrichment by defrauding the government’s tax revenue.”

    Since the MPs sell their assets (=tax free permits) they need a vehicle.

    I believe that the 58 MPs are not only from the government but fail to understand who they are and what they are supposed to do. Is this a new group of them? I have read that they are going to monitor development and that they will supervise development in their provinces.

    Does anybody know who the 58 MPs are and what they are supposed to do?

    • 2
      0

      Lone Wolf, you asked, “Does anybody know who the 58 MPs are and what they are supposed to do”? Yes I do. They are like the 330 million Gods in Hinduism. Each one of them has a subject ranging from Abortion to Zoology.

      Then there are the anti subjects and sub divisions. Due to the shortage of manpower (sorry Godpower) they assigned criminals, murderers, rapists and thieves as Gods. Still unable to fill the vacancies, they had to make the desperate move of assigning animals like cows, monkeys and donkeys as Gods too, which I have to admit was a better move than the previous. I am sure the trend is familiar to you. It has got the Yahapalana government written all over it.

      There was also the question of vehicles for all these Gods. They came out with the solution of assigning animals as vehicles. So we have peacocks, elephants, cows, Thunderbirds & Mustangs (not Ford made) and a whole lot of other animals on whose backs these guys go about, in the course of discharging their assigned duties.

      Our Yahapalana government following the traditions of Gods would soon be giving the MP’s helicopters, Lear jets and even space planes, tax free and with no burden on the proletariat.

      ‘What about hot air balloons, a nice mode of transport’ you may ask. Look at them guys, they are the hottest air balloons you will ever see.

  • 1
    0

    Nagananda,

    “During a press conference, Karunanayake said, “the government, as well as both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe decided to grant vehicles to some MPs without portfolios as they too have to carry out development work, and tend to issues in their areas.”

    It looks like you were correct. The offer of a “development work vehicle” is only for 58 government MPs who are not ministers not other MPs.

    Now my questions are:

    1) Assuming that all the different kinds of ministers already have an official car and in addition 58 government MPs receive a “development work vehicle” how many government MPs do not receive an official vehicle of any kind?

    2) What kind of monitoring and supervising of development work will the 58 MPs do and where?

    3) Is this not a clear attempt to bribe MPs to continue supporting the government?

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