Tax

Malaysia’s tax year spans from 1st January to 31st December. Non-Residents/Expats are subject to a fixed 30% tax rate. Employees must also pay a fixed monthly SOSCO cost of RM49.40, comparable to a national insurance fee.

Tax Filing & Procedures

In Malaysia, individuals are subject to a tax system based on self-assessment. An assessment notice is deemed served when the tax return is filed with the tax authorities. An appeal must be filed within 30 days of the presumed date of service of the tax assessment notice (i.e., within 30 days of filing the tax return).

An employee arriving in Malaysia and liable to pay tax in the next assessment year must inform the tax authorities within one month of arrival.

Non-residents employees subject to the final withholding tax cannot file tax returns unless requested to do so by the tax authorities.

Under the monthly tax withholding rule, employees are required to pay taxes through monthly withholdings (MTDS). Employers must withhold taxes from all cash compensation, including wages, salaries, overtime pay, commissions, tips, allowances, bonuses, and gratuities, based on tax tables issued by the tax authorities. Benefits in kind (BIK) and the value of accommodation (VOLA) are subject to MTDS as of January 1, 2015. The deadline for paying the withheld taxes to the tax authorities is extended from the 10th to the 15th of the following calendar month. Non-resident employees must have 30% of their earnings, BIK and VOLA withheld by their employers.

Beginning in 2014, taxpayers can treat their monthly tax withholding as their final tax payment. Those who use this option are exempt from filing an annual income tax return. However, this only applies if certain conditions are met.

Accommodation

In Malaysia, it is easy to get affordable and decent accommodation. Especially if the accommodation is included in the work package or the employee draws a high salary, the rental costs are cheap. However, properties in the centre of Kuala Lumpur are the most expensive in Malaysia.

Expats like condominiums with amenities such as gyms and swimming pools. In addition, there is a wide selection of apartments, duplexes or townhouses, and detached houses. Both furnished and unfurnished accommodations are offered. Be warned: “unfurnished” can mean an flat where there are no kitchen cabinets or curtain rods.

Leases usually have a term of two years. So if you have the option of leaving the flat early, make sure your contract includes a termination clause. A deposit of two months’ rent is also required, as well as a deposit for utilities.

Expats can only buy properties with a certain value, and certain locations are off limits. However, with the help of a real estate agent, the buying process can be lengthy but simple. You can also check with a land registry office in the state where you plan to settle.

Internet/Landlines

Internet speeds in Malaysia used to lag behind those of other Asian countries, but now the country seems to be catching up. Several providers offer ADSL and fibre-optic options.

Telekom Malaysia offers landline services. You will need a copy of your passport, proof of address, and a work permit or visa to apply for a contract. The four major providers include Celcom, DiGi, Maxis and U Mobile. They all offer contracts and prepaid options at competitive prices.

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