False GST claims? DAP rep says Customs insulting councils

Eddie-Ng-Tien-Chee-T-SubromaniamPETALING JAYA: The Customs Department’s remark about false and dubious claims by 12 local authorities is an insult to all its officers, a Selangor assemblyman said.

DAP’s Balakong representative Eddie Ng Tien Chee, who had previously revealed that the department owed 12 Selangor councils RM36 million in tax refunds, said he was shocked by remarks made by the department’s director-general T Subromaniam.

“This is not only crazy but is also an insult to all the councils’ civil servants.

“Subromaniam should justify his statement which I find to be ridiculous.

“I am curious about his remarks. Why should the local councils ‘create’ false claims by paying the 6% goods and services tax (GST) and then submit for refunds? Do they have nothing better to do?”

Ng was asked to comment on Subromaniam’s statement that the department had not given refunds to the local councils as some of the statements submitted were dubious and false.

He said the department should get in touch with the local councils in writing to furnish additional documents if it doubted the claims.

“The Custom Department should act professionally in handling GST refunds.

“They should inform the local councils in writing and ask for supporting documents if there is any doubt rather than holding back the refunds.

“This shows they are not serious in returning refundable taxes to their customers.”

Ng had revealed figures, based on personal research, which showed that the department owed councils nearly RM36 million as it had not refunded taxes paid since June 2016.

The figures were provided to Ng by each local authority in Selangor.

They indicated that the Shah Alam city council was owed over RM5.9 million, followed by Klang (RM5.6 million), Kajang (RM5.1 million), Ampang Jaya (RM5 million), Selayang (RM4.1 million) and Petaling Jaya (RM3.2 million).

The Customs Department owed Subang RM2.7 million, Sepang RM2.1 million, Hulu Selangor RM700,000, Kuala Langat RM600,000, Sabak Bernam RM400,000 and Kuala Selangor RM200,000.

Subromaniam, in his response, had said that while it was true the money was not refunded, there were valid reasons why the department had not done so.

He further stated that the law allowed the department to hold back any claims if they were not valid or false.

He said that under Section 88 of the Goods and Services Tax Act 2014, which covers penalties for incorrect returns, the person can be fined a maximum RM50,000, jailed a maximum three years, or both.

The person can also be imposed a penalty equal to the amount of tax which has been undercharged.