Chong (right) with Ho on his right, holds a letter from IRB demanding the deceased to pay his alleged tax outstanding from over 20 years ago.
KUCHING: An opposition lawmaker here wants the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) to stop ‘tax harassment’ of taxpayers for backdated claims of over six years.
Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen believed the Limitation Act 1953 and Sabah and Sarawak Limitation Ordinances should be amended so that agencies such as IRB stopped making backdated claims.
He said he planned to raise this matter in Parliament.
Recently, a widow, who wished to be known as Ho, received a letter from IRB demanding her late husband, Pui Kim Hong, pay outstanding tax of RM5,613.20 for assessment years from 1989 to 1993.
The letter, dated March 26, 2015, demanded the deceased to make arrangements to settle his alleged tax. IRB stated it was prepared to discuss payment proposal from the late Pui to lessen his financial burden.
The letter also mentioned that if the agency did not receive any response by April 9, 2015, court action could be taken against the deceased, who passed away on Aug 6, 1997.
In addition, it stated the late Pui could be barred from travelling outside the country under Section 104 of the Income Tax Act 1967.
According to state DAP chairman Chong, Ho had met with IRB officers only to be told that the family must pay the alleged outstanding debt.
Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman, believed Ho should not be held for any outstanding tax, considering that she did not inherit anything from her husband, who passed away 18 years ago.
“It is a duty of the people to pay tax but there should be a limit on how IRB collect taxes. In this case, you can’t expect a taxpayer to keep receipts up to 10 to 20 years. Even the bank has a limitation of six years. It’s unfair for creditors to ask debtors for receipts.
“In Ho’s case, she did not receive any inheritance. Under the Limitation Act, if you don’t ask for money within the time limit, you lose those rights. What Inland Revenue did is inhuman and unethical,” Chong told a press conference here yesterday.
Following a meeting with Ho, who is a petty trader, Chong said he had written a letter to the IRB, enclosed with a copy of Pui’s death certificate.
Chong claimed that of late, IRB has been issuing letters demanding taxpayers to pay alleged outstanding tax payable some 10 to 20 years ago. Such letters included threats that if no payments were made, legal action and restriction of travel order would be issued.
He hoped IRB would have more respect for the law and basic principles of fairness and justice in the collection of debt.
The law of limitations in Malaysia is contained in the Limitation Act 1953 (Act 254) which declares itself to be an Act to provide for limitation of actions and arbitrations that applies only in Peninsular Malaysia.
Sabah and Sarawak have their own respective Limitation Ordinances, which share a similar format, except for some differences.
The scheme of the Act generally allows a period of six years – 12 years in the case of land – to bring an action for the relief that is sought.