ASEAN Regulatory Brief: CIT e-Filing, GST, Relaxed Investment Regulations, and Adjusted Reference Prices for Imports

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In this ASEAN Regulatory Brief, we look at some of the important regulatory changes taking place in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand during the month of August.

  • IRAS expands CIT e-Filing to all companies

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has announced that all companies will now be able to e-File their corporate income tax (CIT) returns (Form C). In particular, the changes will allow companies that have an annual revenue of more than S$1 million to e-File their taxes. Originally e-Filing, when it was introduced in 2012, was only available for small companies.

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The new changes are part of Singapore’s efforts to help companies reduce their compliance costs (in part by going fully paperless) and increase their productivity. The IRAS website provides a range of online services for companies beyond just CIT, for example, allowing for the filing of Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns and Withholding Tax returns.

  • New GST Guide on Approved Trade Scheme and GST Deadline Extended

A new Goods and Services Tax (GST) guide on the country’s Approved Trader Scheme (ATS) has recently been released by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department. According to the new guide, all exports are zero-rated. Additionally, major re-exporters will receive a positive input tax refund since they do not have collection, or have only minimum collection, of output tax, which could be used to offset against the GST paid on their imports. Re-exporters will thus receive a suspended GST under the ATS in order to reduce the cash flow problems faced by these importers.

The new GST guide states that once a taxable entity has been approved under the ATS, they will be able to suspend GST goods at the point of importation. However, only goods that are imported, and not locally acquired supplies, will be eligible for GST suspension.

Malaysia has also announced that its deadline for the submission of the first GST-03 return has been extended to on or before August 14th. The previous deadline was on or before July 31st. It should be noted that failure to meet this new deadline will result in an assessment by the Customs Department.

  • Indonesia relaxes investment regulations for pension funds and insurers

The Indonesian Financial Authority (IFA) has announced that the country will now allow pension funds and insurers to buy corporate bonds with a rating below AA. This is yet another move by the Indonesian government to jumpstart their lackluster economy.

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Currently, the new regulations have only been applied to pension funds, it is expected that insurers will also be included sometime later this year.

This new regulation is but one of 35 new policies that the IFA released on July 24th. Other key changes include encouraging small and medium-sized businesses to consider initial public offerings (IPOs), as well as developing the repurchase agreements market and the possibility of easing investment requirements in riskier products.

  • Adjusted reference prices for import duty calculations to be released

According to the Thailand Customs Department, within the next two months, newly adjusted reference prices for import duty calculations will be released. The adjustments are intended to help make the tax process more transparent and easier to understand. In addition, the changes are also geared towards ensuring compliance with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) valuation system.

Key products that will see adjusted reference prices include automobiles, motorcycles, and electrical appliances. A range of other products are also expected to see their reference prices adjusted, however, an official date has not been released for these yet.


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