Customs: GST reviews done but fund insufficient

Govt has to rely on a special dividend contribution by Petronas to settle the GST repayments

By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

THE Royal Malaysian Customs Department yesterday said the reviews of all pending repayment claims related to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) totalling RM19.47 billion had been completed and approved for payment.

The department said the reviews to all the claims were completed at the end of July 2018.

“However, the GST repayment fund is insufficient to repay the repayment claim arrears,” it said in a statement yesterday.

The Customs issued the statement following the latest Auditor-General’s (A-G) Report, which urged the tax collector to expedite the reviews of the refunds.

The Customs said the refunds amounting to RM19.47 billion were being reviewed when the A-G’s Report was prepared.

The repayment claim arrears amounting to RM19.47 billion were for the period of April 2015 to June 5, 2018.

The Customs also reaffirmed that most of these claims are valid and have to be paid.

But the department said the repayment account does not have enough cash to make the payments.

“However, all GST collections have been included in the Consolidated Revenue Account without the approval of the finance minister. It was reported that the Consolidated Revenue Account only has RM450 million on April 30, 2018, and that this amount was insufficient to be transferred into the GST Trust Fund.

“As such, the government has to rely on a special dividend contribution by Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) to settle the GST repayments of RM19.4 billion,” the Customs said. The government announced recently that Petronas has agreed to a special dividend payment of RM30 billion to Putrajaya.

In June, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (picture) claimed a staggering RM19.4 billion GST input tax was missing from the government’s balance sheet.

Lim’s announcement was widely criticised by former government officials and ministers who denied the allegations. They claimed the money was still within the Treasury.

The missing RM19.4 billion in GST input tax was meant for refunds from April 2015 to May 31, 2018.

The Customs also clarified about the arrears amounting to RM925.41 million to two government- owned companies.

It said there was no loss of funds over the payment of RM925.41 million in GST refunds to the two companies.

“The claims arise from the release given by the Ministry of Finance under the provision of Section 56(3) of the GST Act 2014 for input tax claims paid by the companies.

“Hence, there is no loss of funds as both companies are 100%-owned by the federal government,” the Customs said. It did not name the two companies.

On Monday, the National Audit Department also found that the Customs has allowed input tax refunds of RM930 million for claimants exempted by the Finance Ministry.

The two companies, which were awarded exemptions from paying GST, were paid RM295.9 million and RM629.5 million via 35 input tax refund claims.