Customs has ways to identify businesses with dubious GST statements

CUSTOMS director-general Datuk Subromaniam Tholasy says the department has many ways to determine whether a company's Goods and Services Tax (GST) statement is accurate, such as taking a snapshot of customers at a restaurant.

He said, for example, if a restaurant submits only RM6,000 in GST for a three-month period, which works out to RM67 a day assuming that it operates 30 days a month, this amount is not logical if, during their visits, customs officials discover that the restaurant is packed.

In an interview with Sin Chew Daily published today, Subromaniam said plainclothes customs officials need only spend two hours at the restaurant to get a good idea of its monthly turnover and how much GST it has to submit.

He said at times, customs officials on their rounds found that business operators did not issue receipts to customers.

These business operators have the misconception that they do not need to collect the 6% GST if they do not issue receipts, he added.

"But the Goods and Services Tax Act 2014 has clearly stated that GST is already included in any charges you collect from your clients," he said.

He stressed that the Act gives customs the power to issue tax notices on business outlets based only on observation of their business activities, and those who received such notices must pay up.

Subromaniam said in the past one week, his department had sent out 21,000 notices to companies for submitting GST payment statements with dubious figures, reminding them to make rectifications before they are hauled up and charged in court.

He said these companies thought they could escape detection by the customs department, not knowing that the GST-03 return forms they submitted to the department monthly or every three months showed all details of their accounts that the department wants to know.