The Government has gazetted a series of Amendments to the Finance Act to give effect to several revenue proposals in the Budget 2018 including ‘Debt Repayment Levy, Carbon Tax, Cellular Tower Levy and Mobile Short Message Service Levy’.

According to the Finance Bill issued last Friday by Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera, every mobile telephone operator who owns a cellular tower will have to pay Rs 200,000 per year for each tower from January 1, 2019.

The levy should be paid to the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission in four equal installments.

A Carbon tax, as proposed in the Budget 2018, will be levied for every year commencing from the date of commencement of this Act on motor vehicles based on the age and fuel type of vehicle.

Electric vehicles are exempt from the tax. The vehicle owner should pay the tax for every year other than for the first year of registration of the motor vehicle to the Divisional Secretary, on or before the due date of renewal of annual registration.

The Bill also provides for one-time payment of ‘Luxury Tax’ on motor vehicles based on band of engine capacity or motor power of the vehicle. The tax will apply on every specified motor vehicle of which the first year of registration falls on or after the date of commencement of this legislation. “Specified motor vehicle” means any assembled or unassembled diesel motor vehicle of which the cylinder capacity exceeds 2300 CC or a petrol motor vehicle of which the cylinder capacity exceeds 1800CC or an electric vehicle of which motor power of the engine exceeds 200 Kw.

Dual purpose petrol motor vehicles with the cylinder capacity of not exceeding 2,200 CC, dual purpose electric motor vehicles, vans, single cabs and wagons are exempted from this tax. The tax should be paid at the time of removing the vehicle from Sri Lanka Customs, together with the import duties. The tax does not apply to motor vehicle providing services to Diplomatic Mission of any State or to an International, Multilateral or Bilateral Organization.

The SMS Advertising Levy (for bulk SMS advertisements) of Rs 0.25 per SMS (payable by the advertiser) will also come into effect once the Bill is approved in Parliament. “Bulk advertisements” means messages being sent through mobile phones to group of recipients for commercial purposes. A 7 % ‘Debt Repayment Levy’ will be charged for every month commencing from the date of commencement of this Act, from every financial institution on the value addition attributable to the supply of financial services by each such institution.The Ministry may exempt any transaction of a financial institution from the payment of the Levy subject to conditions.

The Finance Bill will be presented to Parliament for the first reading at a future date.



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