Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tax-exempt car entitlement - an incentive?

I believe most people know the government does offer incentives to citizens with expertise to return to serve in the country and qualified nationals of other countries to make Malaysia their Second Home. Each family is allowed two duty-exempt vehicles. The savings can be attractive.

But few know the difficulty if he or she decides to dispose of the vehicle!

Upon his return six years ago, my son bought a locally assembled BMW 323i under the scheme. Normal outlay would have been $270K; he paid only $170K or thereabout.

He car was giving him too much problem, even though he had it fully maintained at Auto Bavaria. He decided to replace it with a Japanese car. Since I was around, I decided to help him advertise and sell it. The ordeal began...

A used car dealer who responded to my advertisement was knowledgeable enough to alert me that duties had to be paid before the ownership of the car could be transferred. I only knew that no transfer could be effected within two years of the purchase. Not this one. He suggested that I approach the Customs to confirm.

I duly went to the Customs' headquarters to check things. Yes, but I have to go to the Ministry of Finance at Putrajaya to determine how much I have to pay. What documents do I need? "A copy of the ownership card and the owner's IC will do," officer advised.

The Ministry of Finance at Putrajaya is a monumental structure from afar, but like many buildings in our part of the world, there is much room for improvement in terms of finishes if one cares to look closer. But never mind, the officers are generally quite helpful. I soon found the office for the purpose I had gone for.

"Oh, you have to ask your son to write a letter," explained a lady officer.

I protested. How come those people at the Customs didn't know about this requirement?

Notwithstanding, procedure had to be followed. The lady officer was kind enough to offer me a piece of paper for me to pen an application "on behalf of my son". I should wait for 10 working days.

Why the red tape? I am sure the officer will give his approval since the two-year condition has been satisfied. And surely there is already an established table or formula to calculate the duties payable. Both these functions can actually be performed by the Customs. Or Murphy's Law is something that all government ministries and departments need to follow?

I would have thought with Idris Jalal around, we should not have to reach our left ear by twisting our right arm around the back of our head - just to sooth a small itch?

Or Idirs's KPI is anchored on the process rather than the outcome?

But I must say this: unlike the old days, our government officers are generally quite a helpful lot now.

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