MoF looking to tax online business, including Uber drivers

Help is on the way: A taxi passing by an advertisement for the Uber car and ride-sharing service displayed on a bus stop in Paris. — Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Finance (MOF) is looking to tax online businesses next year, in line with the growing Internet-based sector.

Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Serigar Abdullah said on Tuesday the MOF had requested the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) to conduct a thorough evaluation of the matter.

"We need to tax these people who are also earning an income which is taxable.

"Otherwise, it will be revenue lost for the government with more and more businesses going into the sharing and digital economies," he told reporters after delivering his key note address at the Financial Reform for Economic Development in Asia Public Sector Forum 2016, here today.

He said the IRB, which had formed an online business and commerce division, is also working with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM), as part of the  evaluation.

"We are also interested in getting those undertaking online businesses to register with the SSM, to enable us to track how much they earn," he added.

Irwan also said a study by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) on Uber / Grab part-time taxi drivers, showed their earnings could reach up to RM7,000 per month, which is taxable income.

The current taxable income is around RM3,000 to RM4,000 per month. 

Meanwhile, earlier in his speech, Irwan said the government remained committed to fiscal consolidation initiatives to strengthen its financial position and towards achieving a balanced budget in 2020. 

He was also optimistic that government debt would be below 55 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

"We are looking forward to lower the debt to below 50 per cent, by reducing wastage and spending wisely, but this would take some time," said Irwan. 

On protecting government-linked companies (GLCs) and state-owned companies, he said the MOF is on board with initiatives to introduce the State-Owned Enterprises and Government-Linked Companies Act (SOGA).

He said SOGA is aimed at championing the GLCs and spur the domestic economy, while remaining competitive locally and globally. - Bernama

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