KUALA LUMPUR: Those who evade the Goods and Services Tax (GST) or assist another person to do so will be slapped with a fine of between 10 and 20 times the amount of tax involved.
Those guilty of the offence may also be subjected to a maximum jail sentence of five years or face both the fine and imprisonment.
If the crime is committed again, the fine is doubled, whereby offenders have to pay between 20 and 40 times the amount of tax, and can be jailed up to seven years, or both.
Evasion is one of the offences listed under the GST Bill 2014, which was tabled Monday by Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan for first reading in Parliament.
If the amount of tax evaded cannot be ascertained, offenders will be liable to a fine between RM50,000 and RM500,000, seven years' jail or both.
During the Budget 2014 announcement last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the GST would be imposed at the rate of 6% on selected goods and services.
It was reported that the GST, to be implemented on April 1 next year, will replace the current consumption tax, which consists of a sales tax of 10% and 5% service tax.
Under the Bill, it is also an offence for any person to over-claim tax refund or entitlement to relief.
Such offence is punishable with a fine not exceeding RM50,000, three years' imprisonment or both, and also be subjected to a penalty of two times the amount refunded or entitled as a relief in excess.
The Bill also stated that the Customs director-general has the power to request the Immigration director to prevent a person from leaving Malaysia unless and until he pays his outstanding tax, penalty, surcharge or other fees.
The Customs director-general may also allow any tax or penalty to be paid by instalments under prescribed circumstances to be determined by him.
Any imported goods shall not be released from the Customs control until tax on such items are paid in full, except if it is allowed by the director-general.
Those who have overpaid tax, penalty or other fees may make a claim to the Customs director-general within six years for a refund.
It was reported that among items that will be exempted from the tax are rice, flour, vegetables, sugar, fish, chicken, salt, cooking oil, eggs, chicken, cencaluk (fermented prawn paste), budu (a fermented seafood product) and belacan (shrimp paste).
Services including public transportation and education will also be exempted from GST.