Monthly Tax Deduction (MTD)
Not one working individual is oblivious to the existence of tax and their obligation to file and pay it in a timely manner. But, despite every effort to simplify the subject, tax remains as confusing as rocket science to first-timers and veterans alike.
With the tax-filing deadline looming closer by the day, many can no longer shrug the idea of paying taxes aside, and that inevitably leads to torrents of questions as Malaysians scramble to get clarification on matters yet unclear to them.
The most frustrating part of filing income tax is compiling a year’s worth of receipts for the purpose of claiming tax reliefs. However, with the announcement made in Budget 2014, Malaysians no longer need to submit tax returns and can use Monthly Tax Deduction (MTD) as the final tax, from tax assessment year 2014.
However, this has left many taxpayers confused with various questions left unanswered. One such question relates to how MTD works. Here is the lowdown of how MTD can save you money and hassle in the long run.
How MTD works currently
MTD is a mechanism in which employers deduct monthly tax payments from the employment income of their employees. Employers rely on an employee’s personal data submitted to their Human Resource (HR) department to compute monthly MTDs.
Therefore, these monthly deductions are net of personal relief, relief for spouse with no income, child relief and zakat payments.
Further, employees may request for other reliefs to be deducted so that the total MTD payments equal the total final tax payable. To do so however, employees need to submit Form TP1. It is in this form that employees should state other reliefs that they are entitled to, to facilitate the computation of MTD. Reliefs that can included in the form includes:
- Medical treatment, special needs and carer expenses for parents,
- Basic supporting equipment for use by the disabled employee, spouse or parents.
- Self-education fees,
- Medical expenses on serious diseases,
- Complete medical examination,
- Purchase of books, magazines and journals,
- Purchase of personal computer (once every 3 years),
- Net deposit in Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Nasional (SSPN),
- Purchase of sports equipment,
- Alimony payment to ex-wife,
- Life insurance,
- Education/medical insurance,
- Deferred annuity,
- Interest on housing loan (subject to meeting stipulated conditions), and
- Zakat payment (only if not deducted through MTD already).
For more on tax reliefs, refer to iMoney’s ultimate tax relief guide.
Employers are then responsible to remit the amount deducted to Inland Revenue Board (IRB) every month in accordance with Income Tax (Deduction and Remuneration) Rules 1994.
This coming tax submission deadline of April 30, 2014, taxpayers will still have to submit their tax returns. The new ruling of using MTD as final tax will only be applicable from year of assessment 2014, with the deadline on April 30, 2015.
Changes with effect from Year of Assessment 2014
To avoid burdening employees with the need to recompute their income tax which may already equal the MTD remitted by employers to IRB, a proposal has been made in Budget 2014 stating that such tax payers no longer need to submit their tax returns.
However, three criteria must be met:
- Such employee must receive their employment income prescribed under Section 13 of the Income Tax Act 1967;
- MTD of such employee must be made under the Income Tax (Deduction from Remuneration) Rules 1994; and
- Such employee must serve under the same employer for a period of 12 months in a calendar year (i.e. Jan 1 – Dec 31).
This change is effective from year of assessment 2014 meaning employees under MTD as final tax plan who have been submitting their Form TP1 no longer need to submit their tax returns by the deadline next year (i.e. April 30, 2015).
Word of caution
The IRB has warned taxpayers against trying to claim more tax relief than they are entitled to should they opt for MTD as final tax. The article published by The Star dated February 12, 2014 quoted IRB public relations officer Masrun Maslim as saying that those who lie on their Form TP1 to claim more tax relief will face a hefty fine.
He further said that this fine can range between RM1,000 and RM10,000 plus 200% of the tax undercharge.
The IRB also urge eligible employees to start submitting their Form TP1 from now on (February 2014 as of time of writing this article) – as and when there is relief to be claimed.
Just one minor problem…
Gleaning from recent news reports, the problem with MTD as final tax relates to Form TP1 – particularly the lack of awareness of its existence and the timing of its submission.
An article by The Star quoted a group financial officer as saying that not many employees knew of the deduction and rebate form. He also said that although having MTD as final tax would create more work for employers, they have no problems accepting the forms as long as it is before their payroll cut-off date but many employees did not use the form.
Also from The Star, an article revealed that employers support having MTD as final tax but want the submission time of Form TP1 to be regulated.
The article quoted Shamsuddin Bardan, executive director of Malaysian Employers Federation, as saying they wanted Form TP1 to be submitted only twice a year (as opposed to monthly), either in June or July and November.
Bardan also agreed that employees did not submit their Form TP1 often; saying that most employees would file their income tax returns in April every year.
Having knowledge regarding one’s taxes is important to ensure proper financial management. With that said, awareness regarding MTD and Form TP1 will ensure that all necessary reliefs are taken into account thus ensuring accurate tax payments in a timely manner.
But, one must also note that there are two routes (i.e. submit Form TP1 or claim reliefs when filing income tax) to the same result, hence, one should opt for whichever method that is most convenient and the one they are most comfortable using.
Just tied to the knot? Find out the pros and cons of filing separate and joint income tax with your spouse.