Artists, writers, researchers, plumbers, athletes, hair dressers and a host of other professionals who provide their services overseas from Sri Lanka are now eligible to open and maintain foreign currency accounts in licensed commercial banks in Sri Lanka.
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) announced this week that any resident company or partnership registered in Sri Lanka or any individual resident in Sri Lanka who provide certain international services are eligible to open and maintain these foreign currency accounts. The same applies for their employees. The CBSL noted that tax exemptions are applicable to these new measures which went into effect on May 7, 2010.
CBSL Controller of Exchange P.H.O. Chandrawansa told the Business Times that the tax exemptions for these international service providers is based on the 2008 income tax amendment where the government offered tax concessions to foreign exchange earners. The professions were selected by the Inland Revenue Department.
International service providers and their employees in service categories such as accounting, book keeping, auditing, tax advisory, draftsmen services, engineering, software development, data processing and data base development or system designing are also eligible. Also included are individuals in advertising, report writing, photography, publishing, beauty culture, modeling outside Sri Lanka, auctioneers, masons, carpenters, quantity surveying, healthcare services and management of any agricultural property outside Sri Lanka.
The CBSL explained that credits to the accounts are confined to proceeds on international services received from abroad through banking channels, employment income paid out of foreign currency received by an employer and interest accruing on the funds held in the account.