Govt settles RM7.9b in GST, IRB tax refunds

Repayments made after govt received RM8b of the 1st tranche of RM30b special dividend from Petronas


THE government has cleared RM7.9 billion of the outstanding refunds for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as well as income tax claims, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Lim said the repayments were made after the government received RM8 billion — the first tranche of the RM30 billion special dividend — from Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) as at Feb 28, 2019.

Out of the amount which has been paid off, a total of RM3.9 billion is from the income tax segment that was refunded to 38,104 companies and 37,672 non-companies.

Lim said the remaining RM4 billion was used by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department to refund 54,603 GST payers.

“The repayment of these taxes indicate that Pakatan Harapan has no intent to misappropriate dividends received from Petronas and fulfil the promise to repay tax arrears to Malaysian companies and the people,” Lim told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He was responding to a question from Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (Barisan Nasional [BN]-Pasir Salak) who had asked the finance minister to state the amount of GST claims that the government has yet to pay.

As at March 4, 2019, the outstanding GST repayments stood at RM22.15 billion, involving 298,457 statements and 168,839 registrants.

Lim said the amount owed to the top 100 unpaid companies stood at RM9.36 billion, which involved 1,028 statements.

“If BN is questioning whether revelations that RM19.4 billion owed to businesses are true, we can just look at the amount being claimed by Petronas and its subsidiaries, which stands at RM4.2 billion.

“Petronas can’t be possibly making false claims,” he said.

Lim added that a further RM1.2 billion were being owed to nine other major companies, without revealing any names.

“All the GST claims will be fully refunded as announced by the company made according to the rules and regulations set by the company,” Lim said.

In August last year, Lim said the previous government had failed to pay RM19.39 billion in GST refunds to over 120,000 companies and there was only RM1.49 billion left in the repayment fund.

It was also revealed that there was a shortfall in the Tax Refunds Trust Fund under the Inland Revenue Board’s (IRB) purview, which led to delays in the repayment of RM16.05 billion worth of excess tax paid, dating back to six years ago.

The government announced in Budget 2019 that Petronas will pay a one-off RM30 billion special dividend with the sole purpose of making up for the shortfalls for the two tax refunds.