KUALA LUMPUR: Tax experts are calling on the government to clarify in the 2014 Budget when the Goods & Services Tax (GST) will be implemented to end uncertainties.
Lam Kwai Soon, a tax expert from accounting firm Cheng & Co, said the government should set timelines as there were currently many questions and speculations regarding the GST's implementation, such as what the tax percentage would be.
"People are also wondering if income tax rates will be reduced after the GST's implementation, and if so, by how much? All this has created a lot of uncertainty and speculation in the market," he said.
Speaking to Business Times, Lam said that with clear timelines, businesses would be able to get prepared and "this will be good for long term development".
As for small- and medium-sized enterprises' (SME) Wish List for the 2014 Budget, Lam said they are hoping for some corporate income tax reduction.
It is also hoped that the government will adopt more lenient approaches in terms of tax deductions or capital allowances on certain costs such as renovations or office costs, or professional fees in obtaining finance, Lam said.
The SME Master Plan 2012-2020 launched last year has identified the challenges in the industry and there would be initiatives and high-impact programmes being implemented.
Lam said there were still areas of concern with regard to the economy, such as the drop in Consumer Confidence Index, inflationary pressures, and the budget deficit, with Malaysia's debt levels almost hitting the ceiling of 55 per cent of its gross domestic product.
"The government should not only focus on broadening its income base by implementing the GST, but also look into cost controls."
"It is important that the efficiency and effectiveness of our government organisation are enhanced and improved ... only then do I think the deficit can be reduced."
Lam said the high cost of living and rising property prices were still a key concern for the public.
He said the increase in the Real Property Gains Tax rate and other measures have not been effective.