Last week for income tax benefits

PETALING JAYA: With a week left before year-end, Malaysians still have time to make use of various income tax reliefs so that next year, when it is time for the 2021 individual tax filing, taxpayers will have maximised the benefits and reduced their tax bill, say tax experts.

Tax agent Christine Koh said the reliefs that Malaysians should grab include the RM2,500 lifestyle relief for purchase of books, magazines, newspapers (including e-copy), computers, smartphones, tablets, sports equipment, gym membership and Internet subscription.

For those buying personal computers, smartphones and tablets, there is an additional relief of RM2,500 under the PERMAI Assistance Package.

“For example, if the purchase of a laptop amounted to RM5,500, you can claim RM2,500 under lifestyle relief and RM2,500 under special relief, so the total amount claimable is RM5,000,” said Koh.

Holidaymakers can also take advantage of the maximum RM1,000 tax relief for domestic travel spent on accommodation registered with the Commissioner of Tourism, entrance fee to tourist attractions and the purchase of domestic tour packages from registered travel agents.

“Malaysians are also entitled to tax relief for medical expenses for the taxpayer, spouse and or children for up to RM8,000 for serious diseases which must be supported by a medical report,” said Koh.

“Out of the RM8,000 amount, taxpayers are entitled to claim up to RM1,000 for full medical check-up, including tests for Covid-19 and another RM1,000 for vaccination expenses for self, spouse and child,” she said.

Taxpayers are also entitled to another RM8,000 relief for medical treatment and carer expenses for their own parents, with the medical condition certified by a medical practitioner.

One attractive tax relief to look out for is the RM8,000 relief for contribution to children’s education under the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN).

“This is a very attractive tax relief, and it’s not new, but many taxpayers do not (file for) it,” said Koh.

Other reliefs still possible to enjoy by year-end include educational fees, which can be claimed for up to RM7,000, tax relief for breastfeeding equipment for up to RM1,000, fees for registered childcare centres and kindergartens claimable up to RM3,000 and life insurance premium for up to RM3,000.

Taxpayers should also consider using the RM3,000 relief available to purchase private retirement schemes or deferred annuity schemes.

“Supporting equipment for disabled taxpayers, their spouse or children is also given a relief of up to RM6,000,” Koh added.

Taxpayers can also claim tax deductions for donations made to the government, state government or approved organisations and institutions.

“To prepare for the 2021 filing, it is important to keep the invoice or receipt in the name of the taxpayer as per MyKad in order to claim the tax reliefs.

“If you do not have any supporting documents, don’t claim that relief,” she said.

Tax expert Dr Veerinderjeet Singh added that individual taxpayers must bear in mind that the tax year is January to December 2021 for their income tax return to be filed from April 2022.

“To prepare for the tax filing, employees need to ensure that their employers would have issued their annual remuneration form (EA form) before April 2022.

“Taxpayers are reminded that documentation and receipts are essential to defend the claim for specific personal reliefs when requested by the LHDN in the course of a desk audit being made,” he said.

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