Minister Ravi Karunanayake.
Pic by Nisal Badage
By Yohan Perera
The government yesterday announced a new investor incentive scheme with an enhanced depreciation allowance, an amount that can be taken off a business’ profit figure when calculating tax, to spur the sluggish investment climate prevailing in the country.
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, who announced the scheme said, the objective of it is to help realize the target of increasing investments up to US$ 5.6 billion at the end of the year and to enable employment generation. “The scheme is based on the size of investments,” the minister said.
Accordingly, investments not more than US $ 3 million made in the Northern Province will be entitled to a depreciation allowance of 200 percent while investments made in other provinces will be subjected to a depreciation allowance of 100 percent.
However, the investments will have to be carried out within 3 years in order to qualify for the scheme.
Investments between US $ 3 to 5 million that provide employment to not less than 250 persons in the Northern Province will be entitled to a 200 percent depreciation allowance while in other provinces similar investments with same number of jobs will be subjected to a 100 percent depreciation allowance.
For investments between US $ 50 to 100 million, there will be a deprecation allowance of 100 percent irrespective of their geographical location while unrelieved losses can be claimed within 10 years.
Investments between US $ 100 million to US $ 2 billion will be subjected to a depreciation allowance of 150 percent, while the unrelieved losses can be claimed in 10 years.
Also, investments over US $ 2 billion will be subjected to a depreciation allowance of 150 percent while unrelieved losses could be claimed in 25 years.
Depreciation allowance of 100 percent has been given to investments of more than US$ 2 billion on ports developments while unrelieved losses can be claimed in 25 years.
They will be exempted from corporate taxes up to the period which the investment allowance is fully absorbed, and corporate tax would be charged at 7 percent for the next 15 years.
Those investments which are more than US$ 2 billion will be subjected to a withholding tax exemption during the accelerated depreciation allowance applicable period. They would also be exempted from dividend payments to non-resident companies and PAYE tax for maximum of 20 expatriate employees.