Don’t worry about not getting GST refund, says Finance Minister

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PUTRAJAYA (Sept 3): Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has given the assurance that companies would receive the goods & services tax (GST) refunds although some RM19 billion has gone missing from the GST Refunds Trust Account.

“Let me say this, companies don’t have to go [to the government] and ask for refunds. You don’t have to worry about not getting back your money,” Lim told a press conference this afternoon here.

However, the Minister did not reveal the details on how the Federal government would raise such a big sum for the GST refunds to business operators, some of which have started to feel the heat of tighter cashflow caused by the delay in tax refund.

Some 121,429 companies are affected by the late GST refund by the Government. These companies are collectively owed some RM19.4 billion in GST refund by the Government for the period between 2015 and May 2018. Lim had earlier said the refund will be paid starting next year.

Organisations like Federation of Manufacturers Malaysia (FMM) has urged the Government not to offset GST refunds owed to companies with SST payments that they are required to make to the Government.

On that matter, Lim pointed out the Government cannot implement any mechanism to offset outstanding GST payments owed by companies to the Government with future Sales and Services Tax (SST) payments.

“These are two different systems, established under different laws and Acts of Parliament. So unfortunately we cannot do the offset [mechanism],” said Lim.

However, companies which are unable to make necessary payments to the Government because of tight cashflow — particularly due to late GST input tax refund — may be exempted from related penalties, according to Lim.

“We are considering, for example, if there are penalties due [from the companies] on certain things [to the Government] we can considering waiving penalties.

“But [GST-SST] offset [mechanism] is not in our consideration,” he explained.