Window to enjoy tax reliefs closing


PETALING JAYA: It’s the year-end holiday season, so taxes are probably the last thing on your mind.

But with 2023 drawing to a close, Malaysian taxpayers have just about a month to take advantage of the various exemptions granted to them under the current year of assessment.

This means that you have to make the purchases on the permitted items by Dec 31 to qualify for the exemption.

Financial and tax experts are advising taxpayers to take the opportunity to purchase items with tax relief incentives for filing in 2024.

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They said this should be done before December ends since once that date passes, such purchases are only claimable for tax relief in the following year of assessment, which is in 2025.

Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) treasurer Datuk Koong Lin Loong said Malaysians should take note of the period when the 2023 tax assessment year ends.

More importantly, he said, all receipts and invoices for tax-claimable items should be kept properly so that the tax filing would be smooth next year.

“For e-invoices or e-receipts, you can print them out and store them in a folder. Another way is to store everything digitally through a folder on your device.”

For those who wanted to buy a computer or any other device and intend to claim tax relief for it in 2024, he said: “Make sure you do it before the Dec 31, 2023 deadline.”

“If you delay the purchase until January 2024, you will lose out on the claimable lifestyle relief for 2023 and only claim it in Year of Assessment 2024, which is in 2025,” he said when contacted.

Koong, who is a tax expert, advised the public against making “exaggerated” claims just to receive tax reliefs, adding that it is better to stick to the rules rather than face penalties later on.

“Be honest with what you list for filing. Don’t overclaim for your tax reliefs,” he said.

Vice-chair of the International Chamber of Commerce Global Taxation Commission Dr Veerinderjeet Singh reminded taxpayers to take note of the leaflets provided by the Inland Revenue Board so as not to miss out on any tax relief incentives.

“Even gym membership or buying phones and tablets can be claimed, so don’t miss out on that. There are many lifestyle reliefs we can get, but bear in mind that it has to be done during the current calendar year,” he said.

Tax expert Christine Koh said among the reliefs that should not be forgotten are the equipment or subscription fees for the use of electric vehicle charging facilities.

“It is a new relief from 2022, but many people tend to overlook it and may not keep the relevant receipts,” she said.

Koh, who is the managing director of a public accounting firm, pointed out that the tax relief for insurance amounting to RM3,000 has been expanded to cover voluntary contributions to the Employees Provident Fund.

“Both self-employed and even employed individuals can take advantage of this.”

Also, Koh noted that the additional relief for the purchases of phones, notebooks and tablets, which was offered from 2020 to 2022, was no longer available.

“If your other lifestyle expenses have already reached the RM2,500 threshold, there is no need to rush into purchasing these devices. You can defer the purchase to 2024 and claim them through lifestyle relief then.”

Malaysia Literacy in Financial Education Association founding chairman Amy Seok said that taxpayers should only spend within their means and not go overboard just to beat the deadline.

She said the public need to manage their finances for December prudently as they would need to survive for another month until their January 2024 salary is out.

“For those who can afford to spend lavishly, they can go on a shopping spree this month, but those with a fixed monthly income should manage their finances carefully.

“Say, you want to buy a phone and a tablet. If you feel it will affect your finances, then you could buy a phone this year and a tablet next year.

“We should avoid spending unnecessarily just because we want the tax exemptions. Think ahead and focus on the important things like school uniforms and books for our children instead,” she said.

Among the items claimable for tax reliefs in Year of Assessment 2023 are lifestyle expenses such as the purchase and subscription of reading materials, and the purchase of computers, smartphones and tablets.

These purchases can provide up to RM2,500 in relief.

Tax relief on medical expenses is also now claimable up to RM10,000, while early intervention treatment/rehabilitation of children with learning disabilities is claimable up to RM4,000.

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