Taxpayers under amnesty programme still need to meet conditions, says LHDN

PETALING JAYA: The Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) has denied making a U-turn on those who enrolled in the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP), saying there were several conditions for the "goodwill declaration”.

It said any audit or investigation on the participants of the tax amnesty programme will have to be conducted if these taxpayers did not fulfil the conditions, said LHDN in a statement on Tuesday (March 9).

It said its guidelines clearly stated participants of the voluntary reporting scheme should declare their full income, taking into account all taxable income, to avoid any fraud or abuses under the programme.

“In other words, the SVDP that was implemented demands the honesty of taxpayers in making their tax declarations, ” LHDN said in responding to a Sin Chew Daily report that claimed taxpayers who enrolled in the SVDP were being "targeted" by LHDN even though they had stepped forward voluntarily.

The participants said when they joined the programme, they were made to understand that their income disclosure would be accepted in good faith, and that "no audits would be conducted".

LHDN said a total of 286,428 taxpayers had taken the opportunity to participate in the programme, involving taxes, additional taxes and penalties amounting to RM7.877bil.

It also added 11,176 new taxpayers to its records under the programme.

LHDN said while taxpayers were assured that declarations made in good faith would not be audited, this is not a blanket waiver as the exemption is subject to participants declaring their entire income and paying their taxes within the stipulated time, while cases undergoing investigations are still subject to audit findings.

LHDN also said the waiver did not apply to non-taxable cases, reduction of taxes, and tax refunds; as well as any matters of criminal investigations or court proceedings filed under certain laws, including the Income Tax Act, and added that those who wanted additional clarifications could contact the offices that handled their tax files.

Implemented by the Pakatan Harapan government, the programme from November 2018 to September 2019 was aimed at encouraging taxpayers to make voluntary disclosures to increase the nation’s tax collection.

Under the programme, taxpayers who voluntarily declared "misreported" income and deductions would be offered a penalty rate of only 15%.

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