KUCHING: DAP has criticised new laws that will penalise tax dodgers by 100%, saying the punishment is too heavy, especially given the wide scope of tax evasion.
“The evasion of tax is a very loosely used term. A person may have reported his taxes, but it may be wrongly reported. But it would still be classified under tax evasion,” Sarawak DAP leader Chong Chieng Jen told reporters here today.
“To penalise them 100% is just too oppressive.”
Starting Jan 1 next year, individuals and companies that fail to pay their taxes or submit inaccurate tax reports will face a 100% penalty as opposed to the current penalty of 45%.
On Wednesday, Inland Revenue Board (IRB) CEO Sabin Samitah said the penalty increase was to ensure that companies and individual taxpayers paid their dues.
“The penalty hike will not involve any new amendments to the law because it is already stipulated under the Income Tax Act 1967,” Sabin said.
He added that under the act, the increase in penalties could reach as high as 300%.
“We do not condone evasion of tax but I think in many cases, sometimes taxpayers can make honest mistakes. And with the current tax laws, there are thousands of provisions and regulations and thousands of interpretations,” Chong said.
“To penalise that much is ridiculous. It just goes to show that our coffers are drying up, that Barisan Nasional has no more money to pay their debts, especially the 1MDB debts.
“That is why the government is clamping down very, very hard. They are being unnecessarily and unreasonably heavy on the taxpayer, using punitive laws that require the approval of the Inland Revenue Board.
“It is an unreasonable and oppressive taxation scheme by the BN government, and the only way to oppose effectively is to change the government in the coming election,” he said.