More than 14,000 GST cheating cases investigated since 2015

One of the biggest issues is the failure of tax declaration by businesses, says deputy minister

P Prem Kumar & D KanyakumariThe Customs Department has investigated 14,578 cases of businesses failing to comply with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) since it was introduced in 2015.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Othman Aziz said a total of 2,097 cases were prosecuted in court and 928 were found guilty as of July this year.

“One of the biggest issues we face is the failure of tax declaration by businesses,” he told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Othman was responding to Kanowit MP Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang, who asked the government to state problems encountered in implementing GST collection.

“We have introduced the GST Electronic Information System to monitor declarations by businesses.

“It has been installed in 212 premises so far and it will aid in ensuring there is no backlog in the declarations,” he said.

According to Othman, GST-related complaints from consumers have reduced over the years.

“In 2015, we received 6,830 complaints, while in 2016, it reduced significantly to 1,235.

“As of July 2017, we only recorded 185 complaints. This goes to show that people are adapting and are better informed on how the system works,” he said.

As of September 2017, 454,609 businesses have registered for GST. He said the government estimates RM40 billion in tax revenue.

“As for 2018, we need to look at the economic climate at that time and analyse how it may affect the GST revenue.

“In 2015, the government collected RM27.01 billion in GST and the amount increased to RM41.2 billion last year.”

Othman also denied that GST is the factor behind the rising cost of living and increase in price of goods.

“We cannot say GST is the cause of price hikes. We have to remember that the cost of goods is not only based on tax, but also related to the currency exchange, fuel prices and other costs.

“At the ministerial level, we monitor the increase in the price of goods and if there is any increase, the government compensates directly or indirectly through channels such as the 1Malaysia People’s Aid, or through aid to small farmers, fishermen and so on,” he said.

Othman said the government’s aid has balanced the increase in the price of goods, thus alleviating the people’s burden.