Digitalising Tax System in Sri Lanka: Evidence from Inland Revenue Department

  • Dayananda Ambalangodage
  • Chamara KuruppuEmail author
  • Konstantin Timoshenko
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems book series (LNNS, volume 78)


The adoption of state-of-the-art information technology and digitalised tools has gained prominence in recent years. This now applies equally to private sector and public sector institutions, including central governments. This paper explores the implementation of a novel digitalised tool, namely Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS), in Sri Lanka. Rogers’ diffusion of innovation theory serves as a sensitizing theoretical lens through which we approach this innovation tool. The empirical evidence is gathered through multiple sources, encapsulating semi-structured interviews and document search. The results of the study are twofold. On the one hand, the study shows that a great deal of interest has been expressed in the digitalised tax system at the very top. The Asian Development Bank as well as administrators having international experience have taken the decisive lead in promoting the RAMIS. On the other hand, the implementation of the RAMIS has not yet moved beyond the pilot project and achieved the desired ends. On the contrary, a myriad of implementation barriers and challenges have been unveiled, amongst which special mention should be made of poor infrastructure; resistance to change, especially amongst elderly employees; as well as the current legal framework that hinders the full-fledged functioning of the system.


Revenue Administration Management Information System Inland Revenue Department Diffusion of innovation 


  1. 1.
    Adhikari, P., Kuruppu, C., Matilal, S.: Dissemination and institutionalization of public sector accounting reforms in less developed countries: a comparative study of the Nepalese and Sri Lankan Central Governments. Acc. Forum 37(3), 213–230 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Adhikari, P., Kuruppu, C., Wynne, A., Ambalangodage, D.: Diffusion of the cash basis international public sector accounting standards in less developed countries – the case of the Nepali Central Government. Res. Acc. Emerg. Econo. 18(15), 85–108 (2015)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Askim, J.: Performance management and organizational intelligence: adapting the balanced scorecard in Larvik Municipality. Int. Pub. Manage. J. 7(3), 415–438 (2004)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Christensen, M.: The third hand: private sector consultants in public sector accounting change. Eur. Acc. Rev. 14(3), 447–474 (2005)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Christensen, M., Parker, L.: Using ideas to advance professions: public sector accrual accounting. Financ. Account. Manag. 26(3), 246–266 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    De Vries, H., Bekkers, V., Tummers, L.: Innovation in the public sector: a systematic review and future research agenda. Pub. Adm. 94(1), 146–166 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ezzamel, M., Hyndman, N., Johnsen, A., Lapsley, I.: Reforming central government accounting: an evaluation of an accounting innovation. Crit. Perspect. Acc. 25(4/5), 409–422 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Guthrie, J., Olson, O., Humphrey, C.: Debating developments in new public financial management: the limits of global theorising and some new ways forward. Financ. Account. Manag. 15(3/4), 209–228 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hansen, M.B.: Antecedents of organizational innovation: the diffusion of new public management into Danish Local Government. Pub. Adm. 89(2), 285–306 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hood, C.: The new public management in the 1980s: the variation on a theme. Acc. Organ. Soc. 20(2/3), 287–305 (1995)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hopper, T., Lassou, P., Soobaroyen, T.: Globalisation, accounting and developing countries. Crit. Perspect. Acc. 43, 125–148 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kuruppu, C., Adhikari, P., Gunarathne, V., Ambalangodage, D., Perera, P., Karunarathne, C.: Participatory budgeting in a Sri Lankan urban council: a practice of power and domination. Crit. Perspect. Acc. 41, 1–17 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lapsley, I., Mussari, R., Paulsson, G.: On the adoption of accrual accounting in the public sector: a self-evident and problematic reform. Eur. Acc. Rev. 18(4), 719–723 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Polidano, C.: Why civil service reforms fail. Pub. Manag. Rev. 3(3), 345–361 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rogers, E.: Diffusion of Innovations, 5th edn. The Free Press, New York (2003)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
  17. 17.
  18. 18.
  19. 19.
  20. 20.
    Walker, R.M.: Innovation type and diffusion: an empirical analysis of local government. Pub. Adm. 84(2), 311–335 (2006)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wickramasinghe, D., Hopper, T.: A cultural political economy of management accounting controls: a case study of a textile mill in a traditional Sinhalese village. Crit. Perspect. Acc. 16, 473–503 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Wickramasinghe, D., Hopper, T., Rathnasiri, C.: Japanese cost management meets Sri Lankan politics: disappearance and reappearance of bureaucratic management controls in a privatised utility. Acc., Auditing Account. J. 17(1), 85–120 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dayananda Ambalangodage
    • 1
  • Chamara Kuruppu
    • 2
    Email author
  • Konstantin Timoshenko
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Sri JayewardenepuraNugegodaSri Lanka
  2. 2.School of BusinessUniversity of South-Eastern NorwayKongsbergNorway
  3. 3.Nord UniversityBodøNorway

Personalised recommendations