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Questions and Answers

Emission test - exemption

Question: In the CDN of April 30, 2009 a reader requested an answer on how to obtain a non-user certificate for motor cars. He states that his car is 53 years old and in running condition etc.

In this last sentence of your answer, you stated that his car is excempted from emission test on account of its age.

Could you please let me and the public know after what age a car is exempted from the emission test as I too have an old car.

- A. Tajmil, Ratmalana

Answer: There have been several inquiries and doubts in the minds of the public regarding the emission test for motor vehicles. Emission test for motor vehicles commenced in the Western Province on November 17, 2008.

It is planned to extend this to other provinces and ultimately Islandwide. Arrangements have been made to establish 32 permanent centres and 20 mobile centres to monitor vehicle emission islandwide by independent companies such as Cleanco and Laugfs Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.

Sixteen permanent centres and 16 mobile centres have been established in the Western Province. Military and land vehicles such as tractors have been exempted from this requirement and brand new vehicles for a period of three years.

There are vehicles which have been built before any such environment concerns were raised. As such vehicles that were built before 1975 have been exempted.

So if your vehicle was manufactured before 1975 then it is exempted as the Law stands now.

Owners of vehicles not exempted have to test their vehicles annually and obtain the certificate prior to obtaining the annual revenue licence.

It is imperative that all drivers carry revenue licence, insurance certificate and vehicle emission certificate which is valid for one year all times.

If a certain vehicle fails this test the owner can subject the vehicle for a new test and obtain the certificate without an additional payment within 60 days.


Conversion of CEB construction rate to normal rate

Question: Our account number with the Ceylon Electricity Board is 0506024903.

We are told that we are being charged high rates as the connections were obtained for construction purpose initially.

We have stopped construction for the past six months but have not obtained COC as the upper floor is not yet complete. I would like to know whether we are still charged at special rates and if so and how we could obtain connection at normal rates.

- Thulasi Vivekanandan, Colombo 5.

Answer: Yes the rate charged for temporary connections provided to construction sites is more than the normal rate. If you are already in occupation, it is not necessary that you should obtain the COC in order to concert your temporary connection to a permanent connection.

You need to call over at your area call office of the CEB and collect a new connection application form. Once you fill this form and submit with details such as the Municipal Council allotted house number etc.

and sign the agreement, a representative from the CEB will visit your premises and approve the permanent connection. Then you will be charged the normal domestic rate.


Income tax exemption on house rent

Question: Please let me know whether rent from a BOI approved condominium apartment under 1,500 square feet is exempt from income tax and if so, for how many years.

- S. G. Perera, Dehiwela.

Answer: Yes we understand that BOI approved condominium apartments once purchased from the builder and even other apartments under 1,500 sq. ft. given on rent, the rent is exempt from income tax for seven years.

However this is applicable to apartments completed before March 31, 2000. From April 1, 2000 only apartment below 500 sq. ft. are exempted from income tax, for the amount received as rent.


Time bar for reopening of income tax assessment

Question: I would like to know what is the prescribed period beyond which the Inland Revenue Department cannot go backwards to reopen already finalised assessments.

I think this has been varied from time to time and I like to know the latest position and the number and date of the relevant Inland Revenue Amendment Act which sets this out.

- L. J. Fernando, Colombo 7.

Answer: Up to the tax year 2005/2006, it was three years time bar to go backwards on Income Tax Assessment etc.

As per the Income Tax Act No. 10 of 2006, this was reduced to 18 months for the tax period 2006/07.

This continued for the tax years 2007/2008, 2008/2009. However in the Budget of 2008 it has been proposed to increase this period (time bar) to 24 months (2 years) commencing from the tax year 2009/2010. This has not yet been passed as an Act but is likely to be done in due course.

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