Tax authorities target tycoons and corporate leaders

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PUTRAJAYA: The Inland Revenue Board means business. And recently it has been targeting tycoons, including Tan Sris and Datuks, who owe hundreds of millions of ringgit in unpaid taxes.

The exercise, according to a report in The Star, is being undertaken separately by the IRB and the powerful National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team (NRRET) under the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

The report said a Tan Sri in Penang and a Datuk in Johor were among the latest to be ordered to settle payments.

The NRRET is chasing after 13 millionaires, among others, over unpaid dues. The combined arrears of the 13 is believed to amount to almost RM50 million.

Set up in 2015, the NRRET is made up of the IRB,AGC, police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara, Customs Department and the Companies Commission of Malaysia, among others.

It deals with tax evasion, illegal outflow of funds and corruption.

The IRB is also going for companies which owe taxes. According to The Star, some of these companies are being forced to sell assets in order to pay tax bills.

The latest company to feel the IRB heat is Country Heights Holdings Bhd (CHHB). The IRB recently seized RM126 million in fixed deposits from CHHB executive chairman Lee Kim Yew, in connection with tax arrears owed by CHHB subsidiary, Country Heights Sdn Bhd.

The IRB carried out four major operations nationwide from January until May 9. The report said the IRB launched a campaign to collect unpaid taxes dating back to 2015, with 592 IRB officers knocking on doors to collect over RM326 million owed in the last two years.

The Star quoted IRB CEO Sabin Samitah as saying the IRB was not only improving its collection process, but also ensuring swifter legal action against those who refused to settle their arrears.

The IRB is also going after those involved in the “underground economy”.

Uncollected income tax is estimated at RM6.8 billion as of Dec 31 last year.

Meanwhile, Malaysians without business income have until Monday to do their e-filing.