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Friday, December 29, 2023

Is it fair to impose backdated sales tax, says Wee


MCA president Wee Ka Siong questioned the imposition of sales and services tax backdated to 2018 on those providing services in traditional medicine.

PETALING JAYA: MCA president Wee Ka Siong has hit out at the government’s decision to collect “backdated” sales and service tax on those providing services in traditional and complementary medicine (TCM).

Wee questioned the fairness of collecting 6% of SST that were supposedly imposed since 2018, when the businesses involved were unaware of the imposition of the tax.

“Is it practical? Can the TCM practitioners who have never collected this 6% SST before now ‘claim’ it back from their clients retrospectively for services provided from 2018 to 2023?” Wee said in a Facebook post today.

Yesterday, China Press reported that TCM providers were shocked after they received letters from the Customs department notifying them of a retrospective imposition of 6% SST on TCM services from 2018.

The taxable services include massages, acupuncture, cupping and scraping. However, medical consultations and prescription of medicine are exempted.

The letter from Customs also stated that TCM providers can apply a grace period until May next year to pay up the accrued tax, without any penalties, through a voluntary disclosure programme.

Wee also said as the healthcare sector was generally exempted from sales tax, TCM services should receive the same benefit.

“TCM is one of the branches of medical services that have been accepted by the health ministry. In fact, there are TCM services in several government hospitals,” Wee added.

Earlier today, MCA deputy secretary-general Dr Pamela Yong lambasted the government’s announcement of an increase in the sales tax from 6% to 8% from March 1 for TCM services.

She said the finance ministry must explain why the tax is being imposed.

Yong warned that the imposition of 8% SST on TCM services would inevitably result in price increases, potentially giving rise to an underground market and unregistered “quack” practitioners offering lower prices. - FMT

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