|Tuesday, 14 October 2003|
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In the annual tax return for 2002/03 I observe the following particulars need not be shown:
1. Once and for all taxed income (say excluded income)
Dividend and interest income from deposits in banks and financial institutions on which 10% withholding tax had been deducted.
2. Wealth particulars as at 31/3/2003 (abandoned from the year wealth tax was dispensed with)
I am of the opinion that omission of above information in the tax returns could lead to suppression of information and evasion of tax. I.e. when a taxpayer is given an option of excluding certain items of income in his return he could very well suppress a material portion of his income, which the department will not be in a position to detect.
Further he may innocently not show even the income which are liable for tax (Ex. Interest income on which withholding tax has not been deducted). When full particulars of income are shown only the Department could check the correctness of his return efficiently.
As regards wealth particulars I feel that it would help the Department to reconcile the difference in asset value against his income statement.
The following particulars are to be included in the Return as before:
1. Details of assets purchased or disposed.
2. Details of gifts given and received.
These particulars are not adequate for a proper reconciliation. I understand that assessors request the taxpayers to bring income and expenditure account (private), to justify purchase of an asset and any excess they treat as undeclared income. This is done a couple of years later and most taxpayers will not have or remember the details.
This practise I consider as a harassment. A proper reconciliation could be done between asset value (opening and closing balances), only with the income particulars fully declared, (liable, exempt and excluded).
Therefore, I suggest that the Department of Inland Revenue should request the taxpayers to annex a schedule showing excluded and exempt income for a year together with asset values as at the end of the year. Since annual returns are to be furnished on or before 30/11/2003, the Department could still request the taxpayers to furnish these particulars with their returns.
S. R. BALACHANDRAN
If the question is asked whether the state of nibbana could be explored by scientists, the general answer would be in the negative, as nibbana is not a material thing which could be recorded; nibbana being a state that one has to experience.
I wish to introduce a method as to how nibbana state could be explored by scientists by recording it. Reports reveal that scientists from Japan and from America have conducted tests on meditation states.
Results have been given as alpha, beta, delta and theta waves according to the thoughts that occurred. They have used their EEG machines to conduct these tests.
"Visuddhi Magga" clearly explains that a stream winner (A sotapatti-phala puggala) with further practice of meditation can reach phala-samapatti stage on and off, where he experiences nibbana state.
Thus for this experiment, three items are required, viz - (1) scientists, (2) EEG machines and (3) a person who can come on and off to phala-samapatti level, during meditation. If tests are conducted on such a person, scientists will definitely be able to explore the state of nibbana.
As shown in the diagram, supposing the individual has ordinary thoughts from 9.00 to 9.20 and from 9.30 to 9.40, the recording will be as shown in diagram from A to B and from C to D. If he experiences Nibbana from 9.20 to 9.30, there will be a marked difference from B to C, this being the period where he experiences nibbana.
It is rare in this world to come across such a person, but if scientists are willing to conduct this experiment, I can make available such a person who is very well known to Ven. Madawala Upali Thera of Vipassana Meditation centre Kanduboda, the Chief Vipassana Bhawana Kammattanacharya.
ROY DE MEL - VB Kammattanacharya
Apropos of your reader's letter on "Wilted Palmyrah trees" (D/N 24/9), the trees planted on the Galle Face green are "palm trees" and are different from "plamyrah trees" found in abundance in the Jaffna peninsula and in the coastal areas of Puttalam etc.
If they are palmyrah trees they would have flourished especially, on the Galle Face abutting the sea, with very little attention and almost with the initial douche. It is the nature of plamyrah plants that the sun's heat cannot wilt their leaves nor can cattle munch and blight their shoots.
One may get a confirmation of this from the authorities in the Palmyrah Development Board.
It is time the authorities concerned, particularly the Ministry of Finance, took action to see that interest of fixed deposits are increased to reasonable rates, especially for senior citizens who are retired mercantile employees.
They do not receive a monthly pension, and, therefore have to depend on the Interest earned on their terminal benefits placed in fixed deposits, which is barely sufficient to meet the ever-rising cost of living, leave alone medical bills or any other extras they may wish to have. I am sure the above mentioned group of people will be grateful for some sort of relief.
C. LAWRENCE - Pitakotte
The decline of interest rates particularly over the past few months had adversely affected many a depositor - especially those retired in the private sector and dependent for a reasonable income for existence.
In most cases though over 60 years of age they remain breadwinners of their families with no other income and still dependent on interest accruals through fixed deposits placed in banks or finance companies.
This decline in income coupled with the prevailing cost of living has made existence miserable with a negative return detailed as follows.
Average terminal benefits of a white-collar-worker at retirement in the year 1993 - Rs. 350,000
Monthly interest @ 17% in 1993 - Rs. 4,958
Monthly interest for over 60 year group at NSB as at today - 9.7% - Rs. 2829
Monthly loss - Rs. 2129
These desperate depositors remain an isolated lot with no one to speak on their behalf and feeling either neglected or ignored.
In the circumstances a Special Fixed Deposit Scheme for the over 60-year group, would be suggested with a higher rate of interest (on documentary proof that their deposits are exclusively on terminal benefits received from their respective employers), thus enhancing the 9.07% rate presently offered by the National Savings Bank to reach at least 14% with the sympathetic and meaningful approach of the Government.
A.D. - Maharagama.
My attention has been drawn to the above captioned letter (D/N Sep. 30) I think this is a very sensible and timely proposal.
At any given time about 50 to 75 per cent of the personnel of the Police force are off duty.
If rewards and compensation is provided for these personnel they will be encouraged to nab thieves and others committing crimes even risking their own lives. May I add that even retired Police personnel and service personnel could be included in the proposed scheme and may be issued with firearms too to retired gazetted officers. This will enable to help curb the rising crime rate in our country.
CHANDRASIRI ATHUKORALE, Piliyandala.
"Record Number of 58,000 suicides occurred last year - DIG". I wish to draw your attention to the above news item (DN 30/07) If the reported statement is correct, it means that on the average 158 persons in Sri Lanka committed suicide per day during the year 2002. Assuming our population to be 19 million, the above works out to an annual suicide rate of 3.05 per 1000 persons for the year 2002.
I suggest that the reported number of suicides for the year 2002 be re-checked with the relevant official statistics.
If the number is correct, it is an alarming situation that calls for the urgent attention of those in authority at the highest level, so that the reasons for such a high suicide rate could be determined and appropriate remedial measures to arrest the situation could be worked out.
BEDGAR PERERA - Imbulgasdeniya
I was rudely surprised during a recent visit to the - offices of the Presidential Secretariat. No, it was not the overbearing security or any rigid procedure.
Simply that the Secretariat staff were contravening the country's national language policy, of which the President herself is a passionate advocate. At the entrance all visitors are expected to fill a customary form giving details such as name, address and requirement. These forms were only in Sinhala.
I filled mine out in English, but the security guard who was taking down the details in a large ledger could not read it, and I had to go through it with him. I am aware that the Presidential Secretariat is regularly visited by large numbers of people, from many ethnic backgrounds, to seek financial assistance of various types.
By this discriminatory action, is the President's Office not alienating the entire Tamil and Muslim population? It is obvious that the President is unaware of this practice, since she led the way in trying to educate public officers on the need to correspond in both languages. If that is difficult, at least have the forms in English, as a consideration.
Many winners of the lotteries run by the government had been duped by those who had volunteered to help or those who had been approached by the winners themselves for help in obtaining their stakes from the lotteries boards - even deaths had been reported.
Why do not these Boards use their highly and unnecessarily paid advertisements and multiple telecasts of results to educate the would be winners how they can claim their prizes without going behind third parties.
One thing many winners are afraid of is the publicity they get over the TV which can lead to many dangerous situations to their lives.
Lotteries Boards should let the public know that these telecasts would not be done against their wishes - if they want confidentiality.
DESHAPRIYA RAJAPAKSHA - Colombo 6
Funeral practices are changing fast. It is common now to place the body in a funeral home close to the cemetery rather than have a procession from one's own home. And it is a growing practice to obey the dying person's wish to have his remains buried or cremated as soon as possible after death with a cheap coffin and no funeral ceremony or only a small private one. This saves people's time and money.
What happens if this dying wish is not respected? What if defiant relatives and friends feel that the dead one deserves more honour? What if they feel the public must be given a chance to pay their respects?
What if politics are involved and high-ups from here and there are obliged to come along and make orations?
We saw this the other day with the Agga Maha Panditha Venerable Madihe Pannaseeha Nayaka Thera. The simple man that he was, did he not express a wish to be cremated soon after death with minimum fuss?
O.D. SOORIYAPALA, Colombo 4.
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