Businesses should trust the government on the Sales and Services Tax (SST) implementation and they should not attempt to evade the tax, says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
He said if businesses felt that they qualify for SST exemption, they must first apply to the Royal Malaysian Customs Department to determine their status.
“For example, there are businesses who provide services and they are unsure if they are subject to SST. So, let’s trust them and allow them to apply for exemption.
“After that, we will review their applications and if we find that they do not qualify for the exemption, then they will have to pay (the SST),” he told reporters after attending a briefing on the SST in Subang Jaya today.
The briefing was organised by the Customs Department and attended by more than 500 people comprising business people, entrepreneurs and members of trade and business associations.
The finance minister said this is a friendly approach practised by the government to encourage traders to register their businesses for the tax, which would be enforced on Sept 1, 2018.
“So, let us trust first and determine the details later because the government is built on trust with the people,” he said.
Lim said among the issues discussed in the briefing was the confusion surrounding the exemption of SST on flavoured milk for children.
“I only found out today on this matter (where flavoured milk is subject to SST). As I feel that milk is important for the growth and well-being of children, I will exempt flavoured milk from the tax.
“This came from the feedback (during the briefing) and we are ready to listen. If a request is reasonable, we are prepared to exempt (a product from the tax). This includes milk for babies,” he said.
Meanwhile, Customs Department director-general Subromaniam Tholasy said 77,451 businesses had registered under the SST system as at Thursday, Aug 16 via automated transfer from the Goods and Services Tax system.
“Of this, 32,577 businesses were registered for sales tax and 44,874 for service tax. We estimate around 10,000 businesses have yet to register.
“However, this does not mean all of these businesses will be subjected to SST as they can apply for exemption,” he added.