July 31, Colombo: The government incurred a loss of Rs. 6.13 billion in tax revenue due to two palm oil companies clearing imported oil under a wrong classification, according to the recently released report of the parliamentary Committee on Public accounts (COPA).
According to the COPA report, as the brand of oil named “Palm Olaine” with higher specifications that had been imported by two prominent companies importing palm oil in stocks during the period of 2013-2016, had not been cleared under an accurate classification number, a loss of tax totaling Rs. 6,130 million had been sustained.
Although the COPA report given in the year 2016 has stated that, the loss should be recovered from the importer starting from the year 2016 in this regard, the Auditor General has stressed that, the lost income should be charged to the Government account from the year 2013.
It was revealed before the Committee that the importer had appealed to the Tax Appeal Commission in 2019 against the decision given in 2016, although it should have been appealed within the stipulated 3 months’ time of the committee’s decision.
The heads of the Sri Lanka Customs have stated before the Copa Committee that the companies concerned have no right to file late appeals to the Tax Appeals Commission and that the importers should pay the amount immediately.
The Committee has directed the Director General of Sri Lanka Customs to submit a letter to the Tax Appeal Commission by mentioning the fact that, the importer is not entitled to appeal to the Tax Appeal Commission 03 months after the Committee decision and as the Sri Lanka Customs suggested that the relevant importer should pay full amount.
COPA Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitharana presented the first report of the committee to Parliament recently.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts also discussed the expediting of work on the Automated Computer Comparison System to be implemented between the Sri Lanka Customs and the Department of Motor Traffic.