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Goods, Sales and Services Tax Changes

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Malaysia’s Finance Ministry has changed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to be zero-rated for all goods and services in Malaysia starting 1 June 2018 until further notice.

In a statement, the ministry said the move does not include the goods and services listed in the Goods and Services Tax (Exempt Supply) Order 2014, which will remain exempted from GST.

Additionally, the Sales and Services Tax (SST) will be reintroduced by the end of this year at the former rate of 10% eventually replacing the GST. The SST was at 10% before it was replaced by GST in April 2015.

What’s the difference between GST and SST?

SST is a sales and services (consumption) tax paid by end customers while GST is a tax payable by all companies. People pay SST only when consuming goods while GST is a tax payable on every transaction between companies (eg. buying goods, maintenance services, delivery costs, etc.) before the end customers get served. So if a food item in a restaurant needs to pass through five suppliers before preparation, then GST would have been applied and collected five times by the government before the customer gets served.

Technically, each supplier can claim back GST from the government but this still causes issues with operating cashflow as the government is notoriously slow in refunding GST claims and many businesses have struggled.

For more information, interested parties can contact the Royal Malaysian Customs Department at 1-300 88 8500 or 03-7806 7200.

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