Customs DG: Over 5,000 firms cheated on GST

T-Subromaniam-firm-cheat-gstPUTRAJAYA: The Royal Malaysian Customs Department has identified more than 5,000 companies involved in fraud over payments of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) since it was implemented on April 1, 2015.

Customs director-general T Subromaniam said the department had also opened investigation papers against all the companies involved, with some already charged in court.

“These are the hardcore ones, not those lacking in understanding of GST because such people (those who don’t understand) we don’t charge in court. These hardcore companies have collected GST, but don’t pay up and also cheat,” he told reporters after the 1Malaysia Customs Charity Cycling (KAK1M) event here today.

He said the department would continue to educate companies that had registered for GST through a customer-friendly strategy of “compliance through education” rather than enforcement and punitive actions.

“In order to reduce fraud, we have also introduced the GST Ambassador programme. Initially, many companies did not understand it, that’s why we’ve taken a more friendly approach,” he said.

Subromaniam said, as at Dec 31, 2017, 465,000 companies had registered for GST, exceeding the initial target of 200,000 companies.

Asked on the GST collection target this year, he said the Customs Department had set a target of RM43 billion, up by RM1 billion from the figure in 2017.

“However, we believe we can achieve more than that. Last year, we reached the government’s target of RM42 billion and the actual figure will be announced by Prime Minister Najib Razak on Jan 24,” he said.

On KAK1M, Subromaniam said the event, held simultaneously nationwide, was aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle and providing opportunities for the public to interact with the department.

The department also donated RM100,000 raised from the event to the Down’s Syndrome Association of Malaysia.