KUALA LUMPUR: The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has swung into action to recover tax arrears, seeking to ferret out more than 2,000 hardcore defaulters who collectively owe the Government RM307.6mil.
The defaulters owe the Government an average of about RM150,000 each, although some are in arrears of more than RM400,000.
In a three-day operation beginning yesterday to collect outstanding taxes from individuals and corporate bodies, 330 IRB enforcement officers will be calling on 2,168 premises nationwide, 920 of them in the Klang Valley.
Summonses will be served on 834 defaulters who failed to settle RM101.7mil in taxes despite warning letters and reminders.
Letters of demand will be served on another 165 defaulters who owe RM71.3mil.
Demand notices will be served on the remaining 1,169 defaulters, who together owe RM134.6mil.
“We are serious in acting against tax defaulters,” IRB chief executive officer Tan Sri Zainol Abidin Abdul Rashid told reporters before his enforcement team set off from the IRB headquarters yesterday.
Explaining the various modes of action, Zainol said if defaulters did not respond to summonses, the IRB would issue them letters of demand, and the Government would institute winding up petitions against companies, and bankruptcy procedures against individuals.
Zainol reminded the public that the IRB enforcement officers were not authorised to collect payment during the operation. Tax payments should be made at IRB offices or via Bank Bumiputera Commerce or Public Bank.
“Tax defaulters should not delay settling their arrears, as the amount will increase due to penalty charges, 8% interest a year and administrative costs, which include court fees and payment for advertisements of winding up petitions,” he said, adding that the IRB had already begun advertising such petitions in local dailies.
Asked what was the highest amount of tax outstanding, he said: “There are local and multi-national companies which owe us more than RM10mil.”
Last year, the IRB issued notices to 453 corporate defaulters, with the arrears amounting to RM640.4mil.
Zainol said 21 companies from this group had settled taxes totalling RM8.78mil while 102 others were paying RM173.43mil in instalments.
The rest had yet to pay up RM458.22mil in taxes, and would face court action, he said.
A total of 325 bankruptcy notices were issued against individuals who owed RM17.56mil, and 185 winding up petitions were filed last year against companies in arrears of RM83.25mil in total.
In the meantime, IRB officers have begun calling on business proprietors to remind them to submit their tax returns by June 30. Zainol said the officers, who would be on their rounds till Friday, would also be visiting retailers at night markets and food courts.
A check by The Star showed that some 40 IRB officers visited more than 300 business premises in Damansara Perdana in Selangor yesterday.
An IRB officer said the retailers were co-operative and responsive during the operation, adding that they had given assurances that they would comply with the deadline.
He said other IRB teams were despatched to Kelana Square in Petaling Jaya and PJS 11 areas in Bandar Sunway, where there were new businesses.
From tomorrow, the teams will check on the wet market in Jalan Othman in Petaling Jaya, Pusat Bandar Puchong, and night markets in Sea Park and Lembah Subang. Other areas to be covered are Phileo Damansara, Taman Petaling Utara and SS2 in Petaling Jaya.