IRB: Income from paid reviews, brand endorsement taxable

IRB chief executive Datuk Seri Sabin Samitah speaks to reporters during a press conference. ― Bernama pic
IRB chief executive Datuk Seri Sabin Samitah speaks to reporters during a press conference. ― Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — Internet celebrities and other individuals — including minors — who earn income from paid reviews, brand endorsements and businesses conducted via the social media are subject to income tax, if they earn more than RM5,000 a month.

Such income-generating activities are categorised as a profession, therefore those involved will have to declare their earnings, where they will also be allowed to claim for business expenses and tax refunds, if applicable.

Inland Revenue Board (IRB) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Sabin Samitah said these individuals are welcome to visit IRB offices to obtain advice on income declaration and tax calculation.

“We are using mediums such as television and radio to reach out to them and we have even engaged with non-governmental organisations to go to schools and universities to create awareness on the matter,” he told reporters at the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP) seminar, organised by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants here today. 

According to an IRB officer, the board would be able to detect individuals who fail to declare their income when the companies that paid for the internet celebrities’ services declare it in their company’s tax form and share the details on the ambassador or vendors whom they hired. 

According to the Income Tax Act 1967, minors who earn incomes in amounts which fall under the taxable income bracket are also subject to tax.

In such cases, the parents or their legal guardians will have to declare the incomes earned by the minors by filing it on their behalf.

Meanwhile, Sabin said following the launch of the SVDP programme on Nov 2 last year, the IRB sent out 3.5 million emails and 4.7 million letters to registered taxpayers.

“The letters and emails are meant to inform the taxpayers. This is an initiative by the new government as proposed by the Tax Reform Committee,” he added. — Bernama