Khamis, 24 Oktober 2013

Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Budget 2014: Two sides of the GST coin

Posted: 23 Oct 2013 08:45 PM PDT 

Michelle Tam, The Star 


Both bouquets and brickbats will be hurled at the goods and services tax (GST) if it is introduced in this Friday's budget.

Though implementation has been delayed since its first mention in the 2005 budget, the premise seems simple enough: the more you consume, the more you pay.

Also known as value added tax, it is implemented in 160 countries worldwide. As for South-East Asia, only three countries - Brunei, Malaysia and Myanmar - have yet to follow suit.

Since the 1970s, Malaysia has imposed a sales and services tax (SST), which is comprised of the Sales Tax Act 1972 - with rates of 5%, 10% and 20% - and the Service Tax Act 1975 with its 6% levy.

The proposed GST, a consumption tax likely to fall between 4-7%, will replace the standard cumulative SST of 16% and extend to items not currently covered by it.

Ringgit and sens

But one of the major criticisms against the GST is its regressive quality.

The poor, who are not currently taxed on their income, will now have to shoulder some of the burden via the new consumption tax.

"To alleviate this negative feature, the GST is usually designed to be zero-rated or exempted for essential goods and services, which the poor consumes in greater proportion," said RAM Holdings Bhd chief economist Dr Yeah Kim Leng to The Star Online.

These different rates - standard, zero-rated and exempted - is more difficult to implement from an administration perspective, says Malaysian Association of Tax Accountants (Mata) president Abd Aziz Abu Bakar.

"Back in 1994, Singapore imposed a standard 3% GST on everything, which is much easier for the government to manage. But here, the Malaysian government is taking the rakyat into consideration with different rates," he said.

Though the GST is only likely to be implemented in mid-2015, Abd Aziz adds that consumers are already in the era of consumption tax.

"For example, a bottle of Coca-Cola has a 10% sales tax that is charged at a manufacturing or importer level. Consumers don't know about that embedded tax as it's not transparent," he said.

Now, customers will be well aware of the GST's impact, and make purchasing decisions accordingly.

He hastened to add that one of the GST's main targets is to reform tax avoidance in the business community, and not so much the fiscal deficit: "The government loses an estimated RM3 billion in sales tax revenue due to loopholes and leakages. Now, they'll be sucked into the net."

And with or without the GST, says Abd Aziz, the prices of goods and services are on the rise due to supply and demand.

Our heavy dependence on income tax and oil and gas revenue - "The latter is close to 40%," says Dr Yeah - also illustrates the need to broaden and diversify the country's revenue base.

From a business perspective, key benefits will include the increased efficiency of tax administration despite the higher burden of record-keeping.

"Small businesses will be encouraged to register to get rebates on their inputs (raw materials or services that go into production). And if businesses want to claim rebates, they have to keep detailed records," said Dr Yeah.

MARC Bhd economist Nurhisham Hussein agreed that input tax credits will provide an incentive for businesses to comply, and termed the GST a "really elegant system" with fourfold results.

"Businesses won't incur additional taxes or double taxation, and the market prices of goods and services won't be distorted, unlike under the SST system.

"Businesses will also act as de facto collection agents for the government, and the tax yield will be larger at any given tax rate relative to the SST," he said.

While Nurhisham admits that the GST's main drawback is a relatively higher tax burden on the poor in terms of percentage of income, the proposed rates are "fairly low" and essential goods will be either zero-rated or exempt, making the actual tax burden on them "relatively small".

"This will be even more true if the government follows through with a higher BR1M payout and adjustment or cuts in personal income tax," said Nurhisham.

He calls the current SST system "just as regressive" with none of the GST's advantages: "The SST results in higher business costs and distorted market prices, is subject to a higher rate of evasion and fraud, and yields less tax revenue for the government."

"SST is also a harder system to administer, and requires more audit resources. Most other potential revenue sources, such as a capital gains tax (CGT), also don't have the stability that GST offers," Nurhisham adds.

Research indicates that while the investment-based capital gains tax system has a positive impact on mitigating income and wealth inequality, it is susceptible to the booms and busts of the business cycle and less suitable for increasing government revenue.

As exports are GST-free, it is also likely that the country's export-oriented economy will benefit.

Dr Yeah adds that a "one-off inflation spike" will occur, which Alliance Research chief economist Manokaran Mottain agrees with.

"It's the public's mentality. When the government increased petrol prices by 20 sen, people were lining up nationwide. You will see this hoarding effect," said Manokaran.

He also pointed out resource-heavy implementation and tax collection issues as potential teething problems: "Even Singapore faced issues in the first two years. The collection agents, or traders, could not pay taxes to the government. You'd want to ensure that the GST is strictly followed."





0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan


Malaysia Today Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved