KUALA LUMPUR: The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) will be cracking down harder on tax evaders this year, with "aggressive tax planning" among the strategies put in place, said its chief executive officer Datuk Sabin Samitah.
"For this purpose, we have set up the Aggressive Tax Planning Division under the Special Task Department to work closely with the Multinational Tax Branch among others," Sabin said at the launch of 'Kunjungan Mesra Hasil' at the IRB headquarters here on Monday.
His speech was read by his deputy Datuk Mohd Nizom Sairi.
Sabin said there will also be more focus on tax evasions involving shell companies.
"Based on information collected, we found that there were non-resident companies in cahoots with resident companies and tax agents to evade tax, using such methods," he said.
He said IRB would be focusing on all cases involving large repayments.
"IRB will conduct audits on such cases, especially investment holding companies that adopt aggressive tax planning that results in repayments.
"To address this, I have instructed that repayment cases identified as high risk are audited," he said, adding that action would be taken against tax agents found abetting the related companies.
He added that IRB ideally aimed for the tax collection to be at 14% of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The current GDP for Malaysia is at RM1.2 trillion.
At a press conference later, Nizom said IRB has targeted to collect RM127bil in taxes in 2017, or 10% of the overall GDP.
On why the percentage was reduced to 10% from 14%, Nizom explained that progressive countries have had a system in place for a longer time, resulting in more efficient tax collection.
"We are still working on it, so 10%, which is RM127bil, is a pretty good target," he said, adding that in 2016, IRB collected RM114bil in taxes, not far off the RM115bil target.