It has been months since the government reduced the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate to zero, but it seems like there are still many issues pertaining to GST that have yet to be resolved.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had recently revealed that the previous government owes RM19.4 billion GST refunds to companies nationwide because 93 per cent of the money was not placed in the trust account, as reported by The Star.
During his speech at the second reading of the Service Tax Bill 2018 in Parliament yesterday (Aug 8), Lim said some RM18 billion of the RM19.4 billion input tax credit under the GST implementation since 2015 was “robbed” by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
“I was very shocked when informed that this happened because the previous government had failed to enter the GST collection in the trust account specifically meant for the repaying of GST claims.”
“Instead, the Barisan Nasional government pilfered the trust account and entered cash GST collection directly into the consolidated fund as revenue to be spent freely,” he said.
According to Lim, as of May 31 this year, the outstanding GST refund stood at RM19.397 billion but the trust account only had funds amounting to RM1.486 billion.
From the total input tax credit, RM9.2 billion (47%) was recorded between Jan 1 and May 31 this year, RM6.8 billion (35%) in 2017, RM2.8 billion (15%) in 2016, and RM600 million (3%) from April 1 to Dec 31 2015.
Under the GST guidelines, business establishments are allowed to reclaim credit for taxes paid on purchases.
He added that the previous government’s failure in refunding GST claims to companies had led to a ripple effect in which companies, due to poor cash flow, passed on their GST costs to consumers, who were forced to pay more, NST reports.
Lim said an investigation would be carried out to determine the cause of the missing funds. He assured that the government would seek the necessary funds and pay the GST refund to the said companies by next year.
“If the RM19.4 billion was given back to these companies, it will help in Malaysia’s economic growth.”
He also said he had requested the Chief Secretary to the Government for the Cabinet to provide him with the necessary documents to show how the input tax had ended up in the consolidated fund.
“However, he told me he could not remember anything of such.”
Furthermore, Lim claimed that the former Treasury secretary-general may have been aware of the missing RM18bil.
“I would assume the previous KSP (ketua setiausaha perbendaharaan/Treasury secretary-general) would have known about this.”
“We want something definite because we want to look at the circle of decision-makers,” he said.
In response to the allegations made against BN, Khairy Jamaluddin said the current government has to provide more details on the breakdown of the refunds, the list of companies which failed to receive it, as well as look into whether proper documentation was in order for the refund.
Nevertheless, Khairy said he would back the Pakatan Harapan government on this matter, and support the Public Accounts Committee to probe into the allegations. He has remained true to his word and has arrived at the police station to lodge a report against Najib about the “stolen” GST refund funds.
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