PETALING JAYA • Malaysia's Finance Ministry has dropped another bombshell, claiming that the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government has not refunded a total of RM16.046 billion (S$5.3 billion) in excess income tax and real property gains tax to taxpayers, with some being owed these refunds for over six years.
In a statement issued yesterday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the refunds are owed to over 1.6 million companies, individuals, societies and foundations as of May 31 this year.
Mr Lim said that the outstanding tax refunds were due to a shortfall in the Tax Refunds Trust Fund (TRTF), which had only RM1.486 billion as of May 31, much lower than the RM16.046 billion required to refund taxpayers.
"In other words, there exists a shortfall of RM14.56 billion as of May 31, which resulted in 1,653,786 taxpayers not receiving their tax refunds as far back as more than six years ago.
"Therefore, it is clear that the RM14.56 billion, which was not transferred from the Consolidated Funds to the TRTF, had already been recognised as government revenue by the previous government.
"This means that the government revenue that was reported by the previous government is not accurate, and larger than what it actually was," Mr Lim said.
He alleged that the arrears arose because the Cash Management Committee under the Finance Ministry did not allocate enough funds to the TRTF as requested by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).
Number of companies, individuals, societies and foundations that are owed refunds as of May 31 this year, according to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday.
Mr Lim added that this committee was chaired by former Treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.
To address this issue, Mr Lim said the Pakatan Harapan government is now allowing taxpayers with outstanding tax refunds to apply to the IRB to set off the amount against the tax payable for the current year.
Mr Lim added that he hoped this would be the last of his ministry's "mega exposes" of alleged misappropriation and misuse of taxpayers' money by the BN government.
Earlier this month, Mr Lim had alleged that RM19.2 billion meant for goods and services tax refunds were missing from government coffers.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK