by NG MIN SHEN / pic by TMR FILE
THE government has paid RM17.1 billion in refunds to Goods and Services Tax (GST) and income tax payers for the first four months of the year ended April 30, 2019, supported by a RM16 billion special dividend payment received from Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas).
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (picture) said the one-off special dividend from Petronas was paid to the government in stages, thus enabling the repayment of tax refunds to taxpayers.
As announced under Budget 2019, national oil company Petronas will be paying a special dividend of RM30 billion to the government, which will go towards repaying the GST and income tax refunds of RM37 billion this year.
“For the income tax refunds, RM7.6 billion were repaid by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) as of April 30, 2019. Of the total RM7.6 billion, RM5.2 billion were repaid to 70,205 company cases and RM2.4 billion were repaid to 1,186,288 non-company cases by IRB.
“As for the GST refunds, RM9.5 billion were refunded by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department to 76,002 GST registrants as of April 30, 2019,” Lim said in a statement last Friday.
It added that the total RM37 billion worth of arrears in income tax refunds spanning six years and GST refunds of three years represent the “failure of the previous government” to manage its finances by withholding taxpayers’ monies without credible reason, in order to spend the said monies.
As announced last year, the arrears in GST and income tax refunds involved 121,429 GST registrants and 1.65 million companies, individuals, societies and foundations taxpayers as at May 31, 2018.
“The repayment of these tax refunds demonstrates that the Pakatan Harapan government did not misappropriate the special dividend from Petronas and is sincere in fulfilling our promise to return the tax refunds to the
Malaysian people and companies. “This is yet another burden that the Pakatan Harapan government has to bear, despite not spending the money,” Lim said.
Nonetheless, the repayment of tax refunds is expected to generate positive impact for domestic businesses as well as contribute towards economic growth.
Lim had previously said the government will be releasing the refunds in stages, while remaining committed to its promise to return taxpayers’ money.
Of the total tax refund arrears amounting to RM37 billion, the GST refunds account for RM19 billion while income tax refunds comprise RM18 billion.