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How to Reduce Company Tax in Malaysia: A Comprehensive Guide

Reducing company tax in Malaysia is a common concern for business owners, given the complexity of the country’s tax regulations. The self-assessment system (SAS) is fundamental to computing corporate taxes, replacing the manual tax return and payment process. 


Taxable profits, not considered as company expenditures, require careful consideration, emphasizing the need for a robust understanding of Malaysian tax laws.


Malaysia’s standard corporate tax rate is 24%, with variations based on the type of company. Resident companies meeting specific criteria, such as a paid-up capital of RM2.5 million or less and a gross income not exceeding RM50 million, enjoy reduced rates, creating opportunities for tax savings.

Understanding these corporate tax rates is foundational for effective tax planning in Malaysia. It is important for businesses to know their numbers and explore avenues for reduced rates based on their company type, capital, and income.

Understanding Corporate Tax Payment Timelines

Corporate tax payment timelines are crucial for compliance and effective financial planning. Newly incorporated companies must file an estimation of tax payable within three months of operation. 


Monthly installments start in the sixth month of the assessment year, ensuring a systematic approach to tax payments.


After the assessment year concludes, timely filing of taxes with Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDN) through the e-filing system within seven months is mandatory. This includes reconciling any difference between the estimated and actual tax liability. 


Proactive adherence to these timelines is essential for businesses aiming not only for compliance but also for effective tax planning.

Strategies for Corporate Income Tax Deductions

Maximizing Allowable Expenses

When aiming to reduce corporate tax in Malaysia, one crucial strategy involves maximizing allowable expenses. Corporate income tax deductions play an important role in this process, covering a range of expenses directly linked to income generation. By strategically leveraging these deductions, businesses can significantly lower their overall tax burden.

Wages and Salaries

Employee compensation, including wages and salaries, stands as a key deductible expense. This includes payments made to both full-time and part-time employees. Properly documenting and accounting for these expenses is essential for ensuring compliance and maximizing tax benefits.

Incorporation Expenses

Expenses related to the incorporation of the company, such as legal and administrative costs, are deductible. These initial setup costs contribute to the smooth establishment of the business and are recognized as allowable expenses for tax purposes.

Marketing and Advertisement Expenses

Businesses can deduct expenses associated with marketing and advertising efforts. This includes costs related to promotional campaigns, online and offline advertisements, and other marketing initiatives. By investing in these activities, companies not only promote their brand but also benefit from tax deductions.

Business Insurance

Costs incurred for insurance coverage related to business activities are considered allowable expenses. Whether it’s property insurance, liability coverage, or other business-specific insurance, these expenses contribute to reducing the taxable income of the company.

Entertainment Expenses

While entertainment expenses are deductible, there are specific criteria to meet. Expenses related to business-related entertainment, such as client meetings or employee team-building events, can be claimed. However, it’s essential to keep detailed records and adhere to guidelines to justify these deductions during audits.

Lease Rental for Plant and Machinery

Businesses leasing plant and machinery can benefit from deducting lease rental expenses. This applies to costs associated with renting equipment important for business operations. Ensuring that these expenses are accurately recorded is a must for tax planning.

Maintenance and Repair

Costs incurred for maintaining and repairing business assets, machinery, or premises are allowable expenses. Regular maintenance is essential for the smooth operation of business activities, and the associated expenses contribute to reducing the taxable income.

Recruitment Expenses

Costs incurred in the recruitment process, such as advertising for job positions, conducting interviews, and hiring-related paperwork, are considered allowable expenses. Businesses actively recruiting talent can leverage these deductions to optimize their tax positions.

However, it’s essential for businesses to be aware of non-deductible expenses to carry out tax planning effectively. Certain expenses, such as penalties, fines, trademark registration, and payments to non-residents subject to withholding tax but not paid, fall into the non-deductible category. 

A thorough understanding of both deductible and non-deductible expenses empowers businesses to craft precise and effective tax strategies, ensuring compliance with Malaysian tax regulations.

Tax Incentives in Malaysia for Savings and Growth

Malaysia offers enticing tax incentives to foster business growth and investment. Pioneer status and investment tax allowances, applicable to sectors like agriculture and tourism, provide substantial savings. A strategic incorporation of these incentives into business plans can result in tangible tax benefits, fostering long-term financial growth.

Understanding the criteria for these incentives and aligning business activities accordingly is important. Businesses can significantly reduce their tax burdens by leveraging these incentives strategically, aligning their operations with sectors eligible for tax allowances and exemptions.

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The Role of Audit Firms in Tax Optimization for Compliance and Efficiency

Collaborating with a reliable audit firm is a must for optimizing tax positions in Malaysia. These firms offer valuable insights into eligible deductions, allowances, and compliance with transfer pricing regulations. 


Their expertise in effective record-keeping ensures businesses handle the tax efficiently, seizing opportunities for tax reduction.


Moreover, audit firms play an important role in ensuring compliance with Malaysian tax regulations. 


Their in-depth knowledge of tax laws and regulations, combined with their experience in various industries, positions them as valuable partners for businesses seeking to minimize tax burdens. 


Businesses benefit significantly from the guidance of audit firms in Malaysia, ensuring not only compliance but also strategic tax planning.

Accelerated Capital Allowance for ICT Equipment for Technological Advancements

The Income Tax (Accelerated Capital Allowance) (Machinery and Equipment Including Information and Communication Technology Equipment) Rules 2021 provide accelerated rates for ICT equipment. 


With a 40% annual allowance, businesses investing in technology not only enhance capabilities but also enjoy significant tax savings.


Adopting technological advancements aligns with both progress and tax efficiency. The accelerated capital allowance for ICT equipment is a testament to Malaysia’s commitment to promoting technological growth. 


Businesses can capitalize on this incentive to not only stay competitive but also benefit from considerable tax savings.


Reducing company tax in Malaysia requires a strategic and comprehensive approach. Understanding corporate tax rates, optimizing deductible expenses, leveraging tax incentives, and collaborating with audit firms form the foundation. 


Proactive tax planning, compliance with regulations, and strategic investments pave the way for sustained financial growth. By adopting these strategies, businesses can overcome the complexities of Malaysian tax regulations, ensuring compliance and unlocking opportunities for long-term success.

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