GST conference to take stock of implementation

The tax authorities have been actively adapting their enforcement strategies and policies on the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. They are trying to strike a balance between encouraging compliance and stimulating business.

This is one of the topics that will be discussed at a two-day GST conference next week organised by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) and the Royal Malaysian Customs Department.

The GST Conference 2017, taking place on Sept 18-19 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, will also update participants with the recent legal changes with regard to the GST, Customs’ guides update and the issuance of the DG’s decisions, including the amendments.

The Malaysian government had introduced the GST, with an effective rate of 6%, on April 1, 2015, to replace the earlier consumption tax of Sales and Services Tax (SST). The conference, themed “Driving Towards Greater Tax Governance”, also intends to capture the latest regulatory developments, best practices and challenges in applying the GST.

It will feature the top two regulators in the tax arena — Customs DG Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy and Inland Revenue Board CEO Datuk Sabin Samitah — who will discuss the current Malaysian tax landscape and developments.

The other speakers are from audit firms and industry players.

In the panel session on “Common Issues in GST Implementation”, the discussion is slated to focus on challenges faced by key industries and companies in implementing the GST.

There will also be a panel to discuss the GST implication and restructuring arrangement to comply with the anti-avoidance law.

“Tax liabilities constitute a direct cost of doing business. Thus, minimising tax exposure via tax planning is an important aspect of business strategy and management. This session provides guidance on how businesses can best comply with the GST anti-avoidance law,” according to a note from the organising team.

The second day of the conference will begin with a panel session discussing corporate governance issues with regard to the GST collection.

“The session discusses the government’s efforts to improve governance and accountability in its GST collection initiatives, as well as analyse how GST is used to improve the economy and social wellbeing,” according to the same note.

The second panel session — “GST on Cross-Border Transactions and Digital Economy” — will highlight practical issues involved in the GST treatment for import and export of goods and services in relation to conventional transactions, as well as the digital economy.

In the next session — “Discerning Recent Judicial Trends Before the GST Tribunal and Courts” — the discussion will turn to the legal analysis of issues and challenges that arise before the GST tribunal and courts.

In the session “Enforcement and Compliance on GST” participants will be able to understand how the Customs can assist and guide business owners to solve issues that may arise.

The final session, “GST Reimbursement and Disbursement — Practical Issues and Cross- Border Transactions”, aims to guide businesses on the correct implementation of GST treatment to achieve maximum savings.

The session will also discuss the practical GST issues involved in the cross-border supply of goods and zero-rating for services invoices to foreign customers.

The introduction of the GST was badged as part of the government’s tax reform programmes in a bid to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing taxation system.

In addressing the question for its need, the Customs had argued that the GST is proven to be a better tax system as it is more effective, efficient, transparent and business friendly and could spur economic growth, as well as increase competitiveness in the global market.

It is also capable of generating a more stable source of revenue to the nation because it is less susceptible to economic fluctuations, according to information available on the department’s website.

The government noted that it was important to replace the SST to eliminate its inherent weaknesses such as cascading and compounding effects, transfer pricing and value shift- ing, no complete relief on goods exported, discourage vertical integration, administrative bureaucratic red tape and classification issues.