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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » DAILY CHRONICLE™ » Sri Lanka cabinet approves integrated resort investments

Sri Lanka cabinet approves integrated resort investments

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sashimaal

sashimaal
Manager - Equity Analytics
Manager - Equity Analytics

Feb 19, 2014 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's cabinet of ministers had approved investment concessions for three integrated resort projects which appear to limit income tax cuts to gaming, according to public notices published.

Government gazette notices for Lake Leisure Holdings (Private) Limited (connected to Australia's James Packer), Waterfront Properties (Private) Limited. (connected to John Keells Holdings) and The Queensbury Leisure Limited connected to entrepreneur Dhammika Perera said corporate income tax holidays and import duty concessions on materials have been approved.

The concessions when first published ran into a controversy as all resorts are also expected to have gaming operations.

The gazette said the resorts will have rooms, shopping malls, residences, office spaces and "associated facilities".

The revised tax concessions contained no specific references to gaming, and contained wording that appeared to exclude a corporate income tax holidays for revenue profits from gaming, other than rental income.

No limits have been place on rents.

The gazette notice said "activities of the Project including sale, lease, rent proceeds of apartments, office and services space, room charges and rental income from all tenants," will get a 12 or 15 year tax holiday.

The notice also said that in due to exemptions already granted to the projects " no tenant or any other party associating with the project or the project company will be granted any exemptions or concessions under this Act, in view of or consequent to such association."

Under Sri Lanka's Strategic Development Act, sweeping tax concessions to large projects have to be published for public comment, in a bid to limit revenue erosion.

The concession are then approved by the cabinet and tabled in parliament.

The tax concession for gaming ran into controversy, with opposition legislator Harsha de Silva in particular taking up the case and the three projects are now going though the process for a second time.

But Sri Lanka's parliament had already lifted value added tax from gaming and limited gaming revenue based taxes to only 5.0 percent, before the projects were approved.

Legislator Harsha de Silva also opposed the bill at the time, saying taxes on gaming revenues ranged close to 20 percent where income tax was also charged (as in Singapore) or 60 percent where there was no corporate income tax.

http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/news/sri-lanka-cabinet-approves-integrated-resort-investments/93606909

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