26 Tax-Saving Moves
They are legal and permitted by
Inland Revenue Board ( IRB )
1) Save for your Child’s Education
Since 2007 , any amount that is deposited into a savings
account for your child under national Education Savinds
Scheme ( Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Nasional ) allows you to
claim tax deductions.
Thers is a limit of RM 3000 for this deduction but spouse who
file separate tax returns can each claim this amount .
Tax Deduction : RM 3000 per individual
For Mr A : As he falls in the 24% tax bracket , this deduction
translates to a tax saving of RM 720 ( RM 3000@24%)
2 ) File Separate tax returns
A separate assessment allow each spouse to claim personal tax relief
of RM 8000 while a joint tax return allows one spouse to claim a wife
or husband relief of RM 3000
Tax Deduction :
Each spouse earning Taxable income can claim personal tax relief of RM
8000 by filling separate tax returns.
3) Ask your employer to increase
your EPF contributions
Contributions to the employees Provident Fund (EPF) by employers are tax-
exempt for the employees.
To reduce your taxable income , ask your employer to reduce your EPF
monthly salary but increase your EPF contributions by the same amount.
Tax Deduction :
The deductible amount from your taxable income is dependent on the arrangement
between you and your employer.
For Mr A : Mr A agrees to takle monthly pay cut of RM 1000 for an equivalent
increase in his EPF contributions by his employer.At the end of the year , he
receives an additional RM 12000 in his pension fund but his taxable income is
reduced by the same amount.
The tax saving that he makes is RM 2880 ( RM12000@24%)
4) Change your cash remuneration to
Fixed allowances given by your employer each month for
entertainment and housing or parking fees are taxable at your
Change this to a “ reimbursement “ based on receipt and you
are not taxed on the amount received.
Tax Deduction :
The deductible amount from your taxable income is dependent on
the arrangement between you and your employer
For Mr A : By Changing a yearly fixed allowance of RM 6000 to
a reimbursement of the same amount and supported by
receipts , Mr A makes a tax saving of RM1440 ( RM
5) Ask for a company car
A car given by your employer is regarded as a benefit-in kind ( BIK ) and
However , a company car is advantageous for taxpayers because the preset
tax scale for cars is much lower than the actual cost of buying and maintaining
According to the Public ruling for BIKs , the tax payer must pay RM 3600 in
taxes every year, for a car worth RM 75000
If the employer pays for fuel , the tax payer is taxed an additional RM 1200 for
Tax deduction :
Whether you benefit from a company car depends on the value of the car and your
current tax bracket. Do the calculations to ascertain your tax deduction.
6) Make charitable contributions
A gift of money to an approved charitable organisation entitles you to a tax
deduction for the amount given.
From 2008 onward , this amount cannot exceed 7% of your aggregate income.
However Charitable donations that were made in 2007 are not subject to this
Tax deduction :
Up to 7% of your aggregate taxable income can be reduced with this deduction.
For Mr A : With his taxable income of RM 90000 , Mr A can make a donation of
RM 6300 .This deduction results in a saving of RM 1512 ( RM 6300@24%)
7) Take Up postgraduate studies
A relief of RM 5000 per year for any course of study at the
Master’s or doctorate level , the government announced in
2007 Budget the widening of the scope to all postgraduate
The course does not have to be done full time , but “ must be
in an institution or professional body in Malaysia recognised by
the government or approved by Minister of Finance
Tax Deduction :
RM 5000 per individual
For Mr A : As he completes his master’s degree . Mr A can
enjoy tax saving RM 1200 from his taxable income ( RM
8) Read , Read , Read
Starting from YA 2007 , taxpayers can claim a
personal tax deduction to RM 1000 for purchase of
books, journals , magazines and other publications.
To maximise this generous deduction , consider
giving books as gifts.
Tax Deduction : RM 1000 per individual
For Mr A : With book purchases of RM 1000 Mr A
saves RM 240 ( RM 1000@24%)
9) Get Sporty
You will get a deduction of RM 300 for each year of
assessment for the purchase of sports and exercise equipment
for any sports activities defined under the Sport Development
Act 1997 “
Tax Deduction : RM 300 per individual
For Mr A : By buying RM 300 worth of sports equipment , Mr A
makes a saving of RM 71 ( RM 300@24%)
10) Buy Life Insurance
The maximum tax relief is RM 6000 a year for
premiums paid to an insurance company for life
Insurance or deferred annuity plans.
This Limit is shared with your contributions to the
EPF, other employer schemes and contributions
under any written law relating to widows or orphan
Tax deduction : RM 6000 per individual ( shared
with your EPF contributions )
11) Take out a Medical or Education policy
You can claim deductions of up to RM 3000 a year for
education and medical insurance ( combined limit for both )
This includes medical coverage that is part of life insurance
policy( the limit for life insurance is in move 10 )
A policy of this kind can be written for you , your spouse or
Tax deduction :
RM 3000 per individual
For Mr A :After acquiring an education policy for his children ,
Mr A makes a saving of RM 720 ( RM 3000@ 24%)
12) Pay your parents’ medical bills
You are able to claim up to RM 5000 for payments
towards your parents’ medical bills.
Tax deduction :
RM 5000 per individual
For Mr A : By paying his parents’ medical bills , Mr A
makes a saving of RM 1200 ( RM5000@ 24%)
Claim a deduction of up to RM 500 per tax year for a full medical examination
and RM 5000 for medical expenses for yourself, spouse or child for serious
If you have also spent money on full medical in the same year, your claim will
be reduce the RM5000 available for serious disease.
A separate tax reduction of up to RM5000 a year is given for necessary basic
supporting equipment for disabilities suffered by yourself ,spouse, children or
Tax Deduction :
RM 500 per individual for full medical check-up.
RM5000 for serious diseases or basic supporting equipment
For Mr A : He claimed for a full medical check-up .The deduction give him of
RM 120 ( RM 500@24%)
14) Pay Zakat
If you are a muslim ,paying any amount in zakat ,
fitrah or other obligation Islamic dues will entitle you
to a tax rebate.
Tax deduction :
The Amount of zakat that you pay
15) Buy a Computer
A deduction of up to RM 3000 can be claimed once
every three years for the purchase of computers ,
printers and bundled software .
The similar i9ncentive given previously in the form
of a tax rebate was withdrawn with effect from 2007
Tax deduction : RM 3000 once every three years.
For Mr A : Getting a computer for RM3000 gives him
a saving of RM 720 ( RM 3000@24%)
16) Hire a Tax Consultant
Consider hiring a tax consultant to explore ways
your remuneration package can be structured to
maximise your tax savings.
Those who are earning at least RM5000 every
month should be able to justify the cost of hiring a
tax adviser with their tax savings
Tax saving : this is dependent on your personal
circumstances and the deal that you negotiate with
Tax – Savvy Investments
You may be looking at some investment this year.
There are savings to be made from certain
investments , from a tax point of view.
However , some moves may be advantageous if you
fall into a higher tax bracket .
Besides looking for tax-exempt investment , here are
four investment moves to explore
17) Buy property valued below or at RM250000
Stamp duty must be paid on all property transactions that
involve a change of legal ownership.
Last year’s budget ( 2008 ) announced a 50% stamp duty
exemption for the purchase of houses that do not exceed
The maximum tax savings that can be found here is RM2000 (
for a house worth RM250000 )
This exemption is only given for one house per individual and
applies to sale and purchase agreement signed between
September 2007 and December 2010
18) Buy Similar property
Similar property can be grouped together for income tax purposes.
The IRB has indentified categories such as residential , commercial and vacant
If you own two property in the same category , you can reduce the taxable
profit made from one property with the loss, if any incurred from the other.
Property investors are also exempt from real property gains tax for all disposals
on on or after 1st April 2007.
However , taxpayers who are trading property – buying and selling in order to
generate income – are liable to income tax.
“ This exemption is meant for taxpayers who invest in property for a passive
Tax deduction :
Taxable income received from renting out a property in a particular grouping such
as residential can be reduced if a loss was incurred by another property in the same
19) Buy shares ( page1 )
Invest in dividend-yielding shares if your tax bracket is above
A new single-tier system was established under the national
Budget for dividends received by shareholders.
Companies pay tax of 26% (YA2008) and shareholders receive
a net dividend that is exempt from tax and does not need to
be filed with the IRB “Shareholders who fall into higher tax
brackets [higher than 26%] are essentially [getting a] saving
on the difference.
“The single-tier dividends is intended to simplify the tax filing
process for individuals,” says Chua Tia Guan, executive director
and head of tax and financial planning at Great Vision Wealth
Management Sdn Bhd.
“In the past, refunds had been slow. From now on, there is no
need to declare or apply for a refund. And as corporate taxes
are falling, companies will be able to pass on more profits to
their shareholders [in the form of dividends],” he says
19) Buy shares ( page2)
However, not all companies will go under the single-tier system
immediately as some of them might have imputation tax credits left,
which they can use till 2013.
Shareholders who receive dividends from companies using the
imputation system will have to report the amount received and claim
a tax refund if his personal tax rate is lower than the company’s tax
rate (27% in YA2007, 26% in YA2006).
Shareholders can identify the system used by the company as it is
stated in the dividend vouchers.
Your tax saving is the difference between your tax bracket and 26% (the
corporate tax rate). This is only applicable to dividends given out by
companies using the single-tier system.
20) Invest in REITs
You can go into real estate investment trusts ( REITS )if your tax bracket
There are 11 REITs listed on the Main Board.
The tax on dividends given out by these property-related investments are
taxed at 15% as compared to tax on dividend at 26% ( under the new single –
tier dividend system )
Only tax brackets exceeding 15% would enjoy some tax savings by investing in
Since the distributions received by individual taxpayers have been subject to
that 15% , the taxpayers are not required to declare the amount in their tax
Your tax saving is the difference between your personal tax bracket and 15%
Moves for Business Owners
The first rule that small-business
owners should implement with regards
to their taxes is to take it seriously.
Spend some time strategising for your
business activities to save hundreds or
Here are six
21) Maintain books and records from Day 1
Keep separate bank accounts for personal and business transactions and
establish a basic accounting system.
The inland Revenue Board recognises business income on an accrual basis .
This means that as long as a transaction is completed, either a sale of goods or
a provision of service , its value is immediately treated as business income and
However , unpaid transaction can be reduced your taxable income.
Any expenses made fro the business can be deducted from the business
The General rule is that expenses can be deducted if it is wholly and
exclusively incurred in earning your business income.
So Keep the receipts for all supplies that you buy for your business
However there is no deduction for capital expenditure although some assets
will qualify for tax relief by way of capital allowances
22) Time the purchase and use of your
Capital allowances are permitted for certain business assets such as
equipment , machinery , vehicles computers and software.
The amount of allowances permitted each year depends on the
category that asset falls into .( refer to Public Ruling No 2/2001 for
the deductible rate of your assets.
The first capital allowance is given for the accounting year in which
the asset was purchased and used by the business.
If you are contemplating a purchase , try to do it before the end of
the accounting year, instead of just after , to claim the capital
allowance against your business income.
If you are buying the asset with a hire-purchase loan, allowance can
only be claimed as and when repayments are made to the lender.
23. Buys a company car
If you are a sole trader or a partner in a business, any car or vehicle that is
used for business purposes can bring about tax deductions.
“The business income is reduced by the car’s financing cost if you buy the car
You are also deduct a certain amount for capital allowances every year,
Before implementing this tax-saving technique, business owners must identify
a percentage of the car’s use that is for private activities.
As there is no definite ruling on how to determine this proportion for private
use, business owners must apply a fair and reasonable figure that can
“Estimating private mileage is an exercise that must be undertaken in
accordance to the facts on your actual usage.
And remember to record all running expenses to make these deductions,” says
24. Hire your spouse or family member
An effective tax-saving strategy is to hire a spouse or family member.
“For example, a husband who is a business owner can hire his wife. The wife’s
salary is tax deductible but you must be able to show that she is doing
something to earn it,
In this situation, you would have to contribute to your wife’s Employees
Provident Fund (EPF) savings and that amount entitles her to tax relief.
Another option is to make your spouse or family member a partner in your
This allows you to divide the income made by the business between the both
As a partnership has no tax liability, both partners are liable for tax for the
respective portion of business income that each earns.
“By opting for separate tax assessments, a husband and wife who are partners
in a business can each claim individual tax relief.
25. Implement a process to ‘chase after’ unpaid debts
Unfortunately, small business owners can complete a sale or service but might not
receive payment, in full or in part.
At the end of an accounting year, a debt, which is estimated to be wholly or partly
irrecoverable, can be deducted from your business income and this lowers your tax
“Tax authorities tend to look closely at bad-debt write-offs and provisions (for debts
that are expected to be partly recoverable).
So put in some effort to recover the debt before deeming it irrecoverable and you
must evaluate each debt separately.
The process that you put in place to recover your unpaid debts should be
documented and any conclusion that you make should be supported with
documentation as well.
For example, you must show why it it not cost effective to take legal action against
However, if you eventually recover bad debts that have been written off or partially
written off, you must include this amount in your taxable income for the year that
you received payment.
26. Dedicate a space in your home office
Working in your own house can result in tax deductions for the costs related to your “home
This includes electricity, telephone bills, quit rent and service charges of apartments.
The best way to claim for these deductions is to dedicate a room or place as the working
“A dedicated area helps to identify expenses that are specifically for business purposes and can
be claimed in full.
Items that are used by the business as well as personal use, such as electricity, must be
One way to do so is on the basis of floor area.
If the business owner pays rent for the working area, this expense can be deducted from the
This applies to rent that is paid to a spouse who owns the home but is not involved in the
However, this is strategy is only effective if the spouse who is not involved in the business is
taxed at a low tax rate as rental received must be declared as taxable income.
If this is an appropriate strategy for the business owner, A tenancy agreement that specifies
rental for a specific part of the house at the prevailing market rate.
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