An offer too good to refuse?

COMMENT | The subject of the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP) first caught the public’s attention when it was mentioned in the Finance Minister’s Budget 2019 Speech on Nov 2, 2018.

In discussing taxation, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced that the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) would be offering the SVDP from Nov 3, 2018, to June 30, 2019, under which “taxpayers could voluntarily declare any unreported income for Malaysian tax purposes, including that which is in offshore accounts.”

Lim went on to warn that unexplained extraordinary wealth in the form of luxury goods, jewellery, handbags or property would receive close scrutiny from the tax authorities.

On Nov 3, 2018, the IRB issued Operational Guidelines 1/2018, in which details on SVDP for stamp duty, income tax, real property gains tax, and petroleum income tax purposes were provided.

Not unexpectedly, three issues that attracted the greatest concern were offshore accounts, acceptance in good faith by

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