Friday, 10 July 2020

2021 Budget

Our Finance Minister, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz announced that our 2021 budget will consist of four broad themes:-

  • Caring for the people
  • Steering the economy
  • Sustainable living
  • Enhancing public service delivery

Caring for the people

This theme will prominently feature education, employment, social protection and social mobility. The government wants to build new foundations for our economic and and social systems to create a fairer and more wholesome future. 

Steering the economy

This theme will consist ensuring gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2021, increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) and consumer confidence. 

Sustainable living

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the momentum for sustainable investing had not slow down. In fact, companies that embraced and practised environmental, social and governance (ESG) performed better. In Malaysia, our current ESG related incentives include:
  • Tax exemptions for management fee incomes for fund management companies managing socially responsible investing (SRI) funds and syariah compliant funds
  • The extension of tax deduction for the cost of issuing SRI sukuk
  • The extension of the green investment tax allowance (GITA)
  • Green income tax exemption (GITE)

Enhancing public service delivery 

Under this scheme, the government intends to support the people and businesses and become more outcome-focused in a targeted manner. Tengku Zafrul said the measures introduced should be impacting live and livelihoods in a meaningful way and not just about the amount of funds disbursed. 

The upcoming budget is scheduled to be tabled on 6 November 2020. We'll just have to wait patiently until then! 

Lochana Nanthacumar
Content Management Analyst
Wolters Kluwer Malaysia

Friday, 3 July 2020

Sales and Service Tax (SST) Updates

The Royal Malaysian customs department issued two new guides/schemes on its web recently:-

  • Approved Major Exporter Scheme (AMES)
  • Guide on Transmission and Distribution of Electricity Services. 

Approved Major Exporter Scheme (AMES)

This scheme was released under the Sales Tax (Amendment) Regulations 2020 and came into operation on 1 July 2020. The amendment contains a new part, IX A (AMES) which details out the following:-

  • Application for Approval
  • Validity for Approval
  • Exemption from Payment of Sales Tax 
  • Goods not eligible for Exemption from Payment of Sales Tax 
  • Variations, Suspension and Revocation of Approval
  • Sales Tax Due and Payable

Guide on Transmission and Distribution of Electricity Services

This guide was published to help taxpayers in understanding the service tax treatment on the provision of electricity services. This guide contains the following details:-
  • Service Tax Treatment on the Provision of Electricity Services
  • Treatment of Service Tax Electricity Services in Designated Area and Special Area 
  • Registration and Responsibilities of a Registered Person
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Lochana Nanthacumar
Content Management Analyst
Wolters Kluwer Malaysia

(Note: For further information about our Sales and Service Tax (SST) subscription, contact us at (Malaysia).

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

COVID-19: Commendable retrenchment package by Grab Singapore

By Kavitha Kesavan (Content Management Analyst)

Ride-hailing and payments firm Grab announced that it laid off about 360 employees, or 5% of its workforce, to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. In a note to employees, CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan said that this is Grab's "last organisation-wide layoff" for 2020. COVID-19 was quoted as the “single biggest crisis to affect Grab”. Over the past few months, Grab has reviewed all costs, cut back on discretionary spending and reduced the salaries for senior management.

CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan sent out a note to employees in the morning of the day of the announcement to explain the reasons for the decision and apologised to staff. Employees were requested to be patient as leaders worked to facilitate the retrenchment exercise with a high degree of sensitivity and with utmost respect for privacy and encouraged employees to support each other. Anthony said employees can contact him directly via email if they had any questions or simply needed a listening ear, and he is glad to receive their feedback and will do his best to provide answers.

The fact that employees were told that they will receive an e-mail by 1pm on the day of the announcement is not a something to be encouraged as watching their inboxes to see if they will receive that e-mail is definitely not easy and causes anxiety. Informing affected employees about retrenchments via e-mail was regarded as insensitive. Employees were informed that they would be able to speak to their Business Managers and HR representatives personally in the days after the announcement.

However, the company offered the following commendable benefits to the affected staff:

  • Severance payment of half a month for every six months of completed service.
  • Enhanced separation payment, worth about 1.5 months of salary, for assistance during the     COVID-19 crisis and bonus for work done for 2020.
  •  Medical insurance coverage until the end of 2020.
  •  Maternity and paternity leave encashment for expecting mothers and male staff whose wife is   expecting is eligible for the benefit as of the last date of employment.
  • Option to keep their laptops to support job search of employees.
  • Access to sessions with a life coach and half a year’s worth of online career development tools which allows employees to continue growing in their personal and professional lives.
  • Emotional support via the Grabber Assistance Program, for 3 months.
  • Annual cliffs waiver for equity vesting, which allows staff to leave as shareholders
  •  Encashment of unused accrued annual leave and unused GrabFlex credits under staffs’ Flexible Spending Account.

Retrenching staff should be the final option. However, if it still needs to be done, the process should be conducted with empathy, care and respect which includes sensitive communication and fair severance packages.

(Note: For further information about our Asia Pacific Employment Law and Singapore Employment Handbook Service subscriptioncontact us at (Malaysia) or (Singapore).

Thursday, 18 June 2020

What's in for tax in the Government's Economic Recovery Plan?

So, the Economic Recovery Plan that we were all looking forward to is out. Let's take a look at some of the incentives announced under Penjana.

For Business: 

  • For the period from 1st July 2020 up to 30th September 2020, a 50% remission of penalty will be given for late payment of sales and service tax due and payable.
  • An extension of special deduction equivalent to 30% of rental reduction for SMEs up to 30th September 2020.
  • A special deduction for renovation and refurbishment business premises is extended until 31st December 2021.
  • An extension of accelerated capital allowance on eligible capital expenses including ICT equipment up to 31st December 2021.
  • For the period between 1st July 2020 to 31st December 2021, an income tax rebate up to RM20,000 per year for 3 years of assessment will be given to newly established SME.
  • Extension of period of deferment of tax installment payment for tourism industry is extended to 31 December 2020.
  • Extension of service tax exemption for hotels up to 30th June 2021
  • Extension of tourism tax exemption from 1st July 2020 to 30th June 2021
  • For the period between 1st July 2020 to 30th June 2021, stamp duty exemption will be given to SMEs on any instruments executed for Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As)

For personal:
  • Income tax exemption of up to RM 5,000 can be claimed by employees who receive a handphone, notebook and tablet from their employer for working from home
  • Increase of income tax relief for parents from RM 2,000 to RM 3,000 on childcare service expenses
  • eVouchers of RM 800 will be given per household for subsidy of childcare expenses for mobile childcare services
  • Special individual income tax relief of up to RM 2,500 on the purchase of handphone, notebook and tablet
  • Income tax relief for domestic travel of up to RM 1,000
  • Stamp duty exemption for name transfer letters and financing agreements for properties under  Home Ownership Campaign (HOC)
  • RPGT exemption on disposal of residential homes from 1st June 2020 to 31st December 2021.
  • 100% sales tax exemption on locally assemble cars and 50% on imported cars. 

Lochana Nanthacumar
Content Management Analyst
Wolters Kluwer Malaysia

Friday, 29 May 2020

Tax Return Form Deadlines

Taking into consideration our current economic situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRB) has extended the tax returns deadlines up to two months, aimed to reduce the tax payer's burden. The tax forms and the revised deadlines are as follows:

  • Form BE : 30th June 2020
  • Form B    : 31st August 2020
  • Form E    : 31st May 2020 

* Form BE is to be submitted by individuals with no business income.
* Form B is to be submitted by individuals with business income.
* Form E is to be submitted by the employer. 

Don't forget to submit your respective tax return forms on time to avoid late penalty submission and stay safe during this pandemic! 

Lochana Nanthacumar
Content Management Analyst
Wolters Kluwer Malaysia

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

How Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting in Asia Pacific is delivering impact beyond COVID-19

By Izzy Silva
Managing Director
Wolters Kluwer APAC
Wolters Kluwer has served professionals in AsiaPacific for over four decades, helping them enhance workflows and make informed decisions. Our expert solutions – a combination of deep domain knowledge with advanced technology and services – deliver better outcomes, analytics, and improved productivity and help solve complex problems for our customers. We are grateful and appreciative of recognition we have received for supporting customers and helping them realise their potential and deliver impact when it matters the most. 
One of the significant benefits of being part of a global organisation, with a 183-year legacy and portfolio representing thousands of customers worldwide (including 93% of the Fortune 500 companies), is having the ability to respond during a crisis. We are also grounded in our values  ̶  focus on the customer, make it better, aim high and deliver, and win as a team  ̶  which has helped us stay focused even during these challenging times.
We walk the talk

Thursday, 23 April 2020

COVID-19: a snapshot of how various countries in the Asia-Pacific help companies tackle the pandemic

Authors: Premsheila Khindria (Content Management Analyst) and
              Kavitha Kesavan (Content Management Analyst)
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic
which has led billions of people into lockdown. The governments of various countries are
issuing numerous measures to contain the pandemic such as flexibility to work from home and
reliefs for employees and businesses suffering due to the lockdown.
In this article, we have briefly addressed how each of the 14 countries covered in our Asia Pacific
Employment Law subscription has dealt with this situation, including measures to help employees
stay employed and guidance to prevent the spread of the virus at the workplace.

(Note: For further information about our Asia Pacific Employment Law subscription, contact us at (Malaysia) or (Singapore).

2021 Budget

Our Finance Minister, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz announced that our 2021 budget will consist of four broad themes:- Carin...