GST refunds 101 for beginners

Opinion  |  R Nadeswaran
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Let me declare that I am no expert in government procedures and financial processes. However, in the past, I had several opportunities to be guided by the General Orders and some government circulars in preparing and writing articles and commentaries.

On and off, reference is made to such documents, but this time around, I was unable to sight anything to do with the on-going war of words related to the refunds of the goods and services tax (GST). They may be contained in some circular which may previously have been marked as “Sulit” or “Rahsia”.

By training, whenever possible, we do analogies based on everyday situations and common sense when it comes to complex issues affecting the man in the street. Using simple language - without pompous words or legal jargon - will help put the issue in the right perspective.

For purposes of discussion, we shall refer to the owner of an upmarket shoe importer as Nahar. A new consignment of shoes had arrived from Switzerland when a regular retailer, Ah Heng walked in.

“Boss, can’t sell you the shoes yet because my people have not worked out the costs, the insurance, freight charges and the Customs duty payable,” said Nahar.

Ah Heng replied: “I need the shoes today as I have orders from one or two politicians who want to show-off at a garden tea-party later at the palace.”

Nahar took out a calculator, punched are few keys and said: “Boss, agak agak, (approximately) it will cost about RM8,000. You pay first but I will make a refund once we establish the selling price.”

The deal’s done. Both were happy. Nahar makes out a receipt which stated: “’E & OE’ (Errors and omissions expected). All refunds will be made within 14 working days.”

The next day, the importer’s book-keeper, Maniam, calculated all the costs and taxes. He fixed the selling price at RM6,000. He banked RM2,000 which had to be returned to Ah Heng. This and other refunds were kept in a separate account to facilitate easy payments...

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