Give tax relief for shopping and tourism, say retailers

Four retail organisations have called for tax exemption to be granted on shopping and tourism expenses.

KUALA LUMPUR: Retailers have urged the government to provide tax exemption of up to RM10,000 for shopping expenses by individual tax-payers, and RM5,000 for tourism expenses.

They have also called for other financial aid such as rent relief and extended discounts on electricity charges for shopping mall owners and landlords, among others affected by the drop in the domestic retail business since movement restrictions came into force.

In a joint statement, the Malaysia Retail Chain Association, SME Association of Malaysia, Bumiputera Retailers Organisation and the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association have collectively proposed for the government to provide a conditional financial relief for shopping mall owners and landlords, among others.

They said savings from the tenant relief assistance could be used to assist retail businesses in several ways, such as:

  • a waiver or reduction of land assessment tax and utilities payment including water, electricity and telecommunications. “We propose an extension of the electricity discount to December 2021, with retrospective effect from October 2020,” the associations said. Discounts on electricity charges introduced under the economic stimulus package expired in September.
  • waiver of all statutory payment obligations until Dec 31 next year, or for one year after the lifting of the movement control order whichever is later.

The associations also hoped that the government would consider granting individual tax relief in support of domestic shopping or tourism.

This can be done through an individual tax exemption to the tune of RM1,000 monthly, or RM10,000 from May – December 2020 for shopping of goods and services, to be substantiated by relevant receipts, as well as an individual tax exemption of RM5,000 on tourism expenses, to be substantiated by relevant receipts.

The associations proposed for both measures to take effect immediately for Tax Assessment Year 2020–2021.

They said revival of domestic tourism would benefit local businesses which will indirectly support the recovery for the tourism industry,” they said.

They had also proposed for the government to consider protecting businesses adequately through a revision of the Covid-19 temporary measures act as well as the extension of the wage subsidy programme and the bank loan moratorium for businesses.

The associations also proposed tax relief for safety and hygiene expenditures and ‘travel bubble’ programme to restart the tourism industry, as well as the introduction of a Covid-19 SOP compliance certification for retail and restaurant premises to boost consumers’ confidence.