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3,000 undercover officers ‘shop’ for traders flouting regulations


PETALING JAYA: The grace period is now over for the Goods and Services Tax, and some 3,000 Customs officers will be going undercover from today to take to task traders who flout regulations.

“It is time to enforce the law, the advisory period is over,” Customs GST director Datuk Subromaniam Tholasy told The Star.

A month after GST was introduced, he said the officers would be deployed nationwide to check on errant businesses.

“These mystery shoppers will be on the ground to do the policing work. We have had complaints of traders who ask consumers if they want invoices to be issued (when it is mandatory for it to be issued).

“Some traders refuse to issue receipts even when asked,” Subromaniam said yesterday.

Other complaints reported include unregistered businesses charging GST and not issuing invoices on top of that.

Subromaniam said if a trader breached the regulations, the “mystery shopper” would serve as a witness in the case, which would be dealt with by Custom’s investigation officers.

“The mystery shoppers would do the test buying and keep the evidence for prosecution,” he added.

On Thursday, Customs director-general Datuk Seri Khazali Ahmad said enforcement would be carried out to increase the level of com­pliance among businesses.

The operation begins today.

Meanwhile, Subromaniam said there were concerns over the submission of returns by businesses, which had to be done either monthly or quarterly, depending on revenue.

He said businesses earning less than RM5mil could overlook submitting their returns on the specific deadline required by the department.

Such businesses need to file their returns on a quarterly basis while businesses earning RM5mil and above needed to file their returns on a monthly basis.

“When they register, we would notify them on when is their first taxable period as we want to avoid a sudden peak in receiving tax returns so that we can even out our workload,” he said, asking businesses to check the details on their registration document.

Subromaniam said the department also wanted the taxable period – whether monthly or quarterly – to coincide with the company’s financial year.

For example, if a company’s financial year ends in October, then the taxable period will end on April 30 and businesses will have to submit their returns by May 31.

“Their subsequent submission will be for May-July and August- October quarters,” he said.

Subromaniam said the department was expecting 74,909 companies to submit their returns in May, followed by 73,882 companies in June and 343,091 companies in July.

Subromaniam also said errors by traders and businesses in filing their returns could be minimised by the use of the point-of-sales system that tabulated the tax at the push of a button.

GST , GST , Subromaniam , customs , mystery shopper

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