Chong: Don’t be upset if you receive letter from IRB

Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen (left) at a press conference in Kuching February 9, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen (left) at a press conference in Kuching February 9, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Feb 9 — The public should not be unduly upset or disturbed if they have received a letter from the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) requesting them to voluntarily declare their incomes, said Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen.

He said they can just ignore the letter if they have nothing to declare or their monthly income is below the RM3,000 threshold and they have been paying their taxes regularly.

“If you are not sure, then my advice is that you consult your tax consultants or accountants as I am not in a position to tell you whether you need or no need to declare your incomes under the voluntary disclosure of income scheme,” he told reporters.

“I would like to state here that the issuance of this letter is a goodwill gesture by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government to those who have under-declared their annual income or have not been paying taxes,” he said.

Chong, who is the state Pakatan Harapan chairman, explained that under the voluntary disclosure scheme, one has to pay the necessary tax amount owed to the IRB plus a 10 per cent penalty.

He said the offer of 10 per cent to the taxpayers ends on March 31, while a 15 per cent penalty is imposed for those who voluntarily declare their income from April 1 to June 30, this year.

He said under the existing law without the scheme, a taxpayer has to pay the necessary tax amount owed to IRB plus a 100 to 300 per cent penalty.

Chong said a person who takes up the offer will not be subject to further investigation by IRB.

“We understand that people are reluctant to pay their taxes under the old regime because they know that their money will be used for payments of debts, corruption and wastages.

“Under the new regime, we assure that the taxpayers that the money they pay will be used to the fullest,” he said.

Chong advised those who put their money in foreign countries to avoid paying taxes in Malaysia to also take up the voluntary disclosure offer.

He said Malaysia has agreements with Asean and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries on Automatic Exchange of Information among member countries.

He said the agreements, signed two years ago, will be executed soon.

“Under the agreements, these countries will channel information on money deposited in their banks by Malaysians to our Bank Negara Malaysia. So there is no escaping for Malaysians who deposit their money in foreign countries, just to avoid paying taxes,” he said.

Chong believed that many corrupt local politicians are depositing their ill-gotten gains overseas.

He said in the same manner, the Malaysian authorities will also channel information on money deposited in Malaysian banks by foreign citizens to the respective countries.

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