KUALA LUMPUR: The government has reimbursed RM7.9 billion in Goods and Services Tax (GST) and income tax refunds since the start of the year.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the repayments were made in January and February after receiving the RM8 billion tranche of the total RM30 billion special dividend from Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) earlier this year.
“A total of RM3.9 billion has been repaid by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) as of Feb 28, 2019, involving 75,776 cases, of which 38,104 were companies, and 37,672 non-companies.
“As for GST reimbursements, RM4 billion was repaid to 54,603 registrants by the Customs Department,” he told the Dewan Rakyat, here, today.
He explained that the amount was for the outstanding tax refunds of RM37 billion owed by the previous government that stretched as far back as six years for income tax refunds and three years for GST refunds.
Lim added that up to March 4, the outstanding GST claim refunds stood at RM22.1 billion involving 168,839 registrants, the bulk of it, or RM19.4 billion, was payment supposed to be made by Barisan Nasional (BN) when it was in power.
He was responding to a question from Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) on the amount of GST claims that the government has yet to pay to businesses.
Lim also revealed that of the RM19.4 billion GST reimbursement owed by the BN government previously, almost a quarter of it was payment owed to Petronas and its subsidiaries.
“If BN is questioning whether revelations that RM19.4 billion owed to businesses are true, we can just look at the amount being claimed by Petronas and its subsidiaries, which stands at RM4.2 billion. Petronas can’t be possibly making false claims,” he said.
He added that a further RM1.2 billion were being owed to nine other major companies, without revealing any names.
Lim had, in last August, revealed that the then government failed to reimburse RM19.4 billion in GST refunds to over 120,000 companies and individuals, claiming the money were stolen.
However, when asked today by Tajuddin to explain his claims that the money was stolen, Lim did not provide an answer, resulting in a minor commotion in the dewan, as BN MPs demanded for explanation.
“You are not answering my question. I asked if the money was really stolen or merely used by the then government for other administrative purposes,” Tajuddin had said.