Smart Investor Malaysia

Tax Obligations For Self-Employed Entrepreneurs


With the rise of self-employed entrepreneurs, here are some tax compliance obligations and common oversights.

There has been a dramatic growth in recent years on the number of self-employed entrepreneurs in Malaysia. From 2017 to 2018 alone, this number increased from 2.57 million to 2.86 million, an increase of 11.3% (source: Department of Statistics, Malaysia). In 2018, the self-employed are the second largest category (19.3%) in the Malaysian workforce out of a total of 14.8 million working adults.

Malaysia adopts a self-assessment system where taxpayers are responsible to determine their own tax liability and to submit their tax returns accordingly. As the number of self-employed entrepreneurs continues to grow in the Covid-19 economy, it is important for the self-employed to be aware of one’s tax obligations especially in the area of tax compliance. Failure to do so could result in penalties and additional tax payable.

A self-employed person is an independent contractor or a sole proprietor. The self-employed consists of sub-contractors working in the trades or construction sectors to professionals such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, and management consultants. Recent iterations include freelancers working in the commonly named “gig economy” (such as e-hailing drivers).

Here are some tax compliance obligations a self-employed individual should take note of:

1. Registration of Tax Identification Number (TIN) and submission of tax return

A self-employed individual should register for a TIN when the person has taxable income which exceeds a threshold of approximately RM28,000 per annum. A TIN can be registered at the nearest Inland Revenue Branch (IRB) branch or via e-Daftar at the IRB website.

For entrepreneurs running a business, the income tax return (Form B) will need to be submitted by 30 June the following year (eg. Form B for the year of assessment 2020 is due by 30 June 2021*extended to 30 September 2021 due to Government movement control, IRB website)

2. Estimate of Tax Payable

Under the Malaysian tax regime, a taxpayer pays income taxes on a “Pay-As-You-Earn” basis. Where an individual taxpayer receives other than employment income, the IRB may issue a Form CP500 setting out the estimate of tax payable under an instalment scheme. The Form CP500 is determined based on the tax liability of the previous year. What should you take note of:

  • The tax estimate is six (6) bi-monthly instalments commencing from the month of March every year.
  • Each tax instalment payment needs to be made within 30 days from the due date.
  • The remittance slip (Form CP501) should be submitted together with the instalment payment.
  • Should there be a need to revise the tax estimate which affects the instalment amount, you must submit Form CP502 to the IRB not later than 30 June each year on the revision payments. The IRB will issue a Form CP503 if the application is successful.
  • The penalty for late payment of 10% shall be imposed on the unpaid amount if the tax instalment payment has not been paid within 30 days from the due date.
  • Where there is a difference between the revised tax estimate submitted and the final tax liability which exceeds 30% of the tax payable, the difference will be subject to a penalty of 10%.

The following illustration shows the impact when an estimate of tax payable is inaccurate.

3.Employer’s Responsibilities

As an entrepreneur, you might hire employees to expand your business. In this case, you will be considered as an Employer for tax purposes. The responsibilities of an Employer are as follows:

  • The Employer is to inform IRB of any new employees within one month from the date of commencement of employment.
  • Submission of Return of Remuneration by an Employer (Form E) to the IRB on or before 31 March each year. <continues…>

[ You may read the full article HERE ]


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