GST Input Tax

Updated: Nov 23

Goods & Services Tax (GST) was a consumption tax introduced in 2015 to replace the sales tax and service tax before it. GST has its merits, but eventually, it was hit with the abolishment hammer, and repealed in 2018. Now it remains a useless piece of legislation and a ghost that continues to haunt the country as a continuous and reoccurring question of whether they will introduce GST. The facts are there after all, GST is a better tax collection system that Sales & Services Tax (SST).


Therefore, to prepare you who is possibly a merchant from being adversely affected by GST, this article will be aimed towards educating you on how to claim your input tax (GST suffered by a registered person).

We will start with the basics and proceed into the other concepts of input tax claiming. There is a follow-up for article for mixed suppliers, so if you make exempt supply in conjunction with taxable supply, be sure to check that one out too.



Claiming Input Tax

Let’s start with the most basic facts, which is that you must be registered to claim input tax at all. If the business/a sole proprietor is not registered, then no input tax is claimable. To perform the claim, the business only needs to include the input tax claim (& supporting tax invoice evidence) in their GST return.

Now that you know how to do it, let’s go over the input tax limits that were present in 2018. Although it’s all historical, the concepts of these limits are similarly adopted in other countries that have GST (or Value Added Tax (VAT)), therefore it is expected to not change drastically.


Time of supply

Time of supply is a way to determine the exact date of a supply. For input tax purposes, this will determine which taxable period is input tax claimable on. Input tax on supply of goods is claimable at the earliest of:


  1. goods received/taken off shelf,

  2. invoice received, or

  3. payment made

For services received, input tax is due at the earliest of:

  1. invoice received, or

  2. payment made.

Special note for payment: Part payments that are earlier than goods received/taken off shelf or invoice received (for example a deposit made before invoice or goods are received), should have their input tax claimed separately. This means that when the full amount is claimed in the future, input tax relating to the part payment must be excluded.


Accruals adjustments


Accruals as a concept is rooted in accounting, where it means income and expenses should be recognized when they are used, not when payment is made. This is what permits input tax to be claimed on invoice received or goods received, however it can cause some complications, mainly related to debit & credit notes and overdue debts.

Where there is genuine undercharge of invoiced amount, or a follow-up charge to goods/services provided, a supplier may issue a debit note which increases the expenses. Input tax on this amount is entirely claimable, but proper documentation must be kept for inspection to prevent abuse of the system to delay input tax claims.




Similarly, genuine overcharge or return of goods will result in a credit note being issued by the supplier. Input tax on the original invoice will be reduced if its input tax has not been claimed. If the input tax is already claimed, then a reverse charge will reduce input tax claimed in the period to balance out the difference. Proper documentation must be kept for inspection to prevent abuse of the system for overclaiming input tax in an earlier period.


Lastly of the adjustments is overdue debts, whereby debts that should have been paid 6 months ago but not paid will have their input tax reversed. Example, an invoice sent on 1 April & due in 30 days will likely have their input tax claimed in April already. However, if you haven’t paid on 31 October, a reverse charge equal to the input tax claimed will be imposed. You can claim back the input tax once payment is made, but only equivalent to % of payment made.


Exceptions

Like any rule, there are exceptions to accommodate for unique circumstances. This comes in the form of non-business use and blocked input taxes.

As input tax is designed to let businesses not suffer the effects of GST, only business-related transactions should be given input tax claim. Transactions with non-business elements such as telephone charges with some private use should be prorated using a reasonable scale. (For telephone, it could be call time; for utility bills it could be floorplan etc.)

Blocked input tax makes the entire input tax amount not claimable, regardless of business use or private use. This covers the following expenses:





While this may sound counter intuitive to the purpose of GST, Royal Customs Department Malaysia justify it by pointing out that these expenses often have elements of private use that are hard to measure. They also point out that even under business use, these expenses have an element of consumption (such as eating out with potential clients) and therefore should be taxed fully as well.


Summary

Regardless of how you feel about GST, it was a system made with consideration of usual business activities. This was a study of how a registered business can claim their input taxes and exceptions to the normal rule. While it is still unclear if GST will come back in the future, having this knowledge now isn’t harmful. Treat it as additional knowledge, with a possibility of future use.


Disclaimer

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.




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