Malaysia has introduced a new Goods and Services Tax of six percent. However, the country’s Customs Department has said that confusion over the new tax will last six months to a year. Consumer concerns regarding the GST have been over price increases, whereas businesses concerns have focused on compliance costs and its effect on competitiveness.
The Malaysian government is preparing to implement the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on April 1, 2015.
Thailand’s government has announced that it will be cutting the tax rates on its Land and Building tax, as well as on its Corporate Income Tax rates for small and medium-sized enterprises.
At the beginning of January, Cambodia reduced the income tax burden on workers in the country. The government has raised its tax threshold from 500,000 riel (US$125) to 800,000 riel (US$200). The previous lowest income tax bracket had begun at 500,000 riel, at a rate of five percent. This change puts approximately US$3.75 a month back into the pockets of workers in Cambodia earning over US$200 per month.
On 6th January 2015, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (“IRAS”) released revised transfer pricing guidelines.
On December 18, 2014, the European Parliament officially granted the Philippines’ request for inclusion in the European Union’s (EU) General System of Preferences Plus (GSP+). The Philippines will soon be able to export, tariff-free, over 6,200 products (66 percent of all product tariff lines) to the EU, including processed fruit, coconut oil, footwear, fish, and textiles.
On December 9, 2014, Singapore became the first country in Southeast Asia to sign an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on tax information sharing with the United States. The signing follows an in substance agreement reached between Singapore and the US in May 2014. Most countries around the world have been entering into IGAs with the US government since the US introduced a complex reporting and withholding regime through the passage of the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in March 2010.
The Cambodian Ministry of Economy and Finance is drafting standardized accounting procedures for small and medium-sized businesses. The main goal of the draft is to streamline bookkeeping, improve tax collection efforts for the government, and make it easier for lending institutions to evaluate loans.
The Singaporean government has announced a range of property tax and other cost reductions for those living in Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats. Starting January 1, 2015, HDB flat owners of three-, four-, and five-room units will see a three percent reduction in their annual rent. Additionally, owners of one-room and two-room HDB flats will continue to pay no property tax. This will be the second year that the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has imposed progressive property tax reductions in order to reflect the cooling down of the property market – a slowdown mainly due to government intervention.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced the postponement of the country’s proposed value-added tax (VAT) hike on December 2, 2014, citing unfavorable economic conditions. Thailand’s growth forecasts have been downgraded by ANZ’s Roy Morgan from 1.3 percent to 0.9 percent for 2014, and from 4.8 percent to 4.2 percent for 2015.