Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Malaysian taxes and sometimes it pays to be dumb.

Just yesterday I made a trip to the Penang LHDN office to verify a few meager dividend checks. For tax filing, the tax office will need to verify the dividends through mail in or in person verification. Verifying in person is advantageous to get quicker refunds and reduce paperwork.

Those who are in the lower tax bracket (namely me) can get some of the money back that was taxed at the dividend payout. For instance, A 100 RM dividend will be taxed 27%. For those in the lower tax brackets, they get money refunded back to them. The 10% tax bracket will get roughly the difference, which in this case 17%, refunded back to them.

Tax Returns

I had just a few dividends to declare, lucky me. Some others had 30 or 40 dividend vouchers. So, the officers had to go verify each dividend voucher one by one. But ah....things get even more complicated. Just last year, the tax changed a bit. Depending on when the check was issued, dividend tax for 2006 was 27% and in 2007 was 26%. The company secretaries must really be sleeping on the job because they messed up all of the few vouchers I had.

Anyhow, so one guy next to me was smart enough to do the alterations, probably figuring out ok, I can save the hassle of the dividend verifier correcting all the mistakes. But when the tax rate was reduced, the actual gross dividend being taxed was changed as well. I believe this was a corporate tax change. So from the example before, 100 would probably be reduced to RM98.5 (though it's not exactly 1.5%, it differs from dividend to dividend), and then the income tax rate would also be changed, 28% would be changed to 27%. I just filled out what was on the dividend voucher and put it on the form. It was all wrong of course, but no different than a lot of others who did the same thing.

The dividend verifier went and did all the corrections for me. The guy next to me changed the income tax rate, but didn't change the gross dividend being taxed. So he messed up his thirty or forty dividend vouchers and furthermore, the dividend verifier wouldn't offer to correct it!

I would have at least tried the sad puppy dog face, works a lot of times for me :)

He said this was all wrong and asked him to come tomorrow and redo it. Others who did it like me were fine i guess because I saw others who were in the same situation as me and some of them had a lot of vouchers, and the dividend verifier did all the corrections. It wasn't the amount of checks, but I suppose the verifier required at least a standard base to work from.

Moral of the story: Sometimes it pays to be dumb, and don't try to make work easier for the LHDN, because if you mess up the work you do for them, they'll screw u good!


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