PETALING JAYA: The Treasury Department has again dropped a bomb by claiming that the previous Barisan Nasional government has not repaid a total of RM16,046bil of surplus income tax and real estate tax to taxpayers – some owing these refunds for the last six years.
In a Wednesday statement (Aug. 22), the Minister of Finance, Lim Guan Eng, said that the total amount includes 1,653,786 incidents, consisting of companies, individuals, associations and foundations, as of May 31 this year.
According to Lim, 29 percent (RM4.6bil) of the total amount, consisting of RM3.09bn for tax refunds for businesses and RM1.503bil for private individuals, associations and foundations, has not been paid back to taxpayers for six years.
In addition, 38 percent (RM6.125 billion) of the total amount, consisting of RM5.212bil for companies and RM910mil for individuals, associations and foundations, has not been repaid for a period of between two and three years.
And 22 percent (RM3.539bil) of the figure, consisting of RM2.759bil for companies and RM780mil for individuals, associations and foundations, comes from a backlog of four to five years.
Finally, 11 percent (RM1.789bn) of the total amount, consisting of RM1.356bn for businesses and RM433mil for individuals, associations and foundations, has not been refunded to taxpayers in the past year.
Lim said the amount of outstanding tax refund was due to a shortage of transfers of direct tax revenues collected in the Tax Refunds Trust Fund (TRTF).
He added that the balance in the TRTF from May 31 on RM1,486bil is based on information from the Accountant General & # 39; s Department, much lower than the RM16.046bil needed to refund taxpayers.
"In other words, there is a deficit of RM14.56bn as of 31st May, which resulted in 1,653,786 taxpayers who received their tax refunds no more than six years ago.
"It is therefore clear that the RM14.56bil, which was not transferred from the consolidated funds to the TRTF, had already been included as government revenue by the previous government.
"This means that the government revenue reported by the previous government is not accurate and greater than what it actually was," said Lim.
He claimed that the overdue tax refunds of more than six years were due to the fact that the Treasury Management Committee of the Ministry of Finance did not allocate sufficient resources to the TRTF as requested by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).
Lim added that this committee was chaired by the former Secretary General of the Treasury Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar during the administration of Barisan.
"As I explained earlier, this amounts to forging bills and obscuring tax refunds for other purposes or to hide the actual shortfall and present a surplus," he claimed.
To address this problem, Lim said that Pakatan's government in Harapan is now offering taxpayers who have IRB's outstanding tax refunds the opportunity to apply for the amount to be set off against the tax due for the current year.
According to Lim, this application must be submitted to the IRB for verification and approval.
"In addition, the remaining tax refunds will be made on the basis of the government's ability, depending on its tax position," he said.
Lim added that he hopes that this will be the last "mega-exposés" of his ministry in connection with alleged misappropriation and abuse of tax money by the Barisan government.