Track down tax evaders regardless of title or position, PM tells LHDN

CYBERJAYA: The Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) should be stricter in its enforcement and everyone should pay their taxes regardless of position, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He said it was crucial for LHDN to dispel the notion that the rich and powerful are safe from any form of enforcement.

“I always say, carry out your duties. Whether he is an Ahmad, Ah Seng, Tan Sri or Tun, see whether or not they are paying taxes.

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“If they are not paying taxes, (audit) them and take action,” he said during an event at LHDN headquarters here on Friday (March 1).

Earlier, Anwar recalled his previous tenure as finance minister from 1991 to 1998, when he visited LHDN, which was just a government department at the time.

“I was briefed that many giant and famous companies in the country found it ‘tough’ paying taxes. Some paid in full but some only paid half.

“The leadership of LDHN was brave and took action then were brave and they took action even against large businesses. Because of their commitment and sacrifice, I decided to upgrade LHDN from a department to an agency," he added.

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Earlier, Anwar said Malaysia has one of the lowest income tax to gross domestic product ratios in the region at 11.2%, compared to Singapore (12.6%) and Thailand (16.4%).

The Prime Minister, who is also Finance Minister, said LHDN set a record for income tax collection last year, bringing in RM183.34bil – an increase of RM7.8bil over the previous year.

He said that as of December, 5.7 million individual taxpayers paid a total of RM40.96bil; while 539,113 companies paid taxes totalling RM98.77bil.

Meanwhile, Anwar said the ongoing Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme by LHDN received 68,806 voluntary declarations involving a total of RM610.62mil as of Feb 15.

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“It is undeniable that new LHDN initiatives have increased national revenue,” he said.

At the same time, Anwar said the Customs Department and LHDN have expanded the Sumbangan Asas Rahmah (Sara) initiative, with aid recipients increasing to more than 700,000 compared to 210,000 the previous year.

“I hope the recipients won’t forget the contributions of the LHDN, Customs Department and other government agencies,” he said.

Individual and non-individual taxpayers can submit their tax returns for the 2023 year of assessment through e-Filing beginning Friday.

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