TAXPAYERS can expect a reduction of between one and three percentage points in personal income tax rate for the 2015 assessment once the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is introduced on April 1 next year.
The highest taxable income band will be raised from RM100,000 to RM400,000 for the 2015 year of assessment with the maximum income rate of 26% cut to 24%, 24.5% and 25%.
The Government will also be giving a one-off RM300 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) cash rebate to households with a monthly income of below RM4,000 once the GST is launched.
Clarity of impending changes to the tax rates were announced during an international seminar on GST by the Finance Ministry tax division undersecretary Datuk Siti Halimah Ismail who said that for businesses, the corporate income tax rate would be cut from 25% to 24% for the 2016 year of assessment.
SMEs will also see their income tax reduced from 20% to 19% while the co-operative income tax rates will fall from 25% to 24%.
The 6% rate for GST is considered a neutral rate, according to Siti Halimah, who added that the GST in Malaysia would be a progressive tax instead of a regressive tax.
The introduction of the GST in Malaysia is expected to change the mix of tax revenue in Malaysia where much of what the Government gets in tax collection is direct taxes such as corporate and personal income taxes.
Citing examples from a model, she said households that spend RM2,000 a month would pay about RM34.21 in expenses related to GST and RM12.73 in expenses on exempted items.
The total tax incidence of RM46.94 will account for a 2.35% increase in taxation based on projected consumption for households spending RM2,000 a month.
For households spending RM12,000 a month, the tax incidence will be RM329.07 or 3.66%.
Meanwhile, Customs Department director-general Datuk Seri Khazali Ahmad said approval to hire an additional 800 staff members had been granted with most of the recruits going into auditing to ensure the implementation of GST went on smoothly.
“The system and manpower are in place to ensure smooth implementation of the GST,” he told the conference before moderating a talk on GST. We are counting the days towards the implementation of the GST.”
It has been reported that the since the implementation of the GST will cover three quarters of 2015, Second Finance minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said the Government was looking at earning roughly RM2.5bil in addition to the revenue secured under the sales and service tax.
He said this would jump to RM8bil in 2016 and keep increasing as more and more companies came on board.
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