IRB extends voluntary disclosure programme

The IRB’s Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme is aimed at encouraging taxpayers to come clean and start afresh from their 2018 assessment year.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has decided to extend the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP), aimed at encouraging taxpayers to come clean on their undeclared income, after it received “very encouraging” response from the taxpayers.

The IRB had received 381,979 voluntary disclosures up till March 31, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said.

The voluntary disclosures are for the 2017 reporting year for individuals, and the year ending March 31, 2018 for companies.

Under this voluntary programme, a reduced penalty of 10% was offered for under-reported income disclosed to the IRB from November 2018 till March 31, 2019. This has now been extended to June 30.

In a statement today, Lim said under the scheme’s second phase, from July 1 till Sept 30 this year, taxpayers will be imposed a 15% penalty.

From Oct 1 this year, the penalty will revert back to 45% onwards, Lim said.

The SVDP is to encourage taxpayers, especially those with offshore accounts, to come forward voluntarily and declare income not reported previously or which was under-reported for tax purposes.

It aims to provide an avenue for taxpayers to come clean in relation to their tax affairs and start afresh from the 2018 assessment year, the IRB had said previously.

Lim said the IRB will accept each voluntary disclosure in good faith.

Audit action and investigation will not be conducted against the taxpayer.

He hoped more taxpayers would take advantage of the programme to enjoy the low penalty rates and reduce their tax burden.

Lim said the IRB had complied with the government’s instructions last year that investigations into tax cases be conducted without threats and to stop raids on houses or offices by IRB officers accompanied by armed personnel “wearing balaclava masks”.

If this order is defied, he said the victimised party should lodge a complaint with the IRB or the ministry.