JOHOR BARU: The Customs Department is going on a campaign to raise awareness among businesses on the sales and service taxes before coming down hard on tax evaders.
Customs (Operation) deputy director-general Datuk Ibrahim Jaapar said that 80 operations personnel and 90 enforcement officers have been roped in to visit 1,896 companies in Johor in their bid get them to register their service and sales tax licences.
"We will focus more on educating and explaining about the regulations of the licences and taxes.
"We will check their records and give them the opportunity to register and pay the taxes," he said adding that the need for awareness on the matter was crucial because most business owner were unaware about tax regulations.
Ibrahim said the department would give the companies time but stressed that stern actions would be imposed on those who refused to comply with the regulations.
Those who evade tax could be charged under Sales Tax Act 1972 and Service Tax Act 1975.
Ibrahim told reporters after launching Ops Johor Phase I that the operation would also focus on companies, which were given prior tax exemption due to not achieving their threshold target.
The operation would be held between March 17 and March 25.
Among the areas that would be covered in Ops Johor Phase I are Johor Baru, Pasir Gudang, Kota Tinggi, Kulai, Gelang Patah and Pontian, while the remaining districts would be covered in Phase II.
"This is the most systematic operations to weed out tax evaders in the country and Johor is the third stop after Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
"Previously, we targeted 456 companies in Ops Klang Valley and we managed to get 336 companies to register their licences," he said adding that it would be a year-long operation and held in stages in all the states.
Ibrahim also said the personnel involved in the operation would be driving 4-wheel drives with multiple customs stickers and clad in its uniforms.
"However, we advise the public to ask for the department identification card whenever approach by a customs officer.
"This is important to prevent anyone from being scammed by any parties," said Ibrahim.
The department has also opened a service counter at the Seri Malaysia Hotel here between 9am to 10pm from March 19 until March 24 for those who have yet to register.
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