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Monday, October 26, 2009

5% cap for real property gains tax

PETALING JAYA: The Government will issue an order to cap the real property gains tax (RPGT) at 5%.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanazdlah reiterated the RPGT of 5% was imposed on gains from the disposal of real property irrespective of the holding period and category of owner.

“In the Budget 2010 presentation, the Government proposed that real property gains tax at a fixed rate of 5% be imposed on the gains from the disposal of real property effective Jan 1, 2010,” Husni said in a statement yesterday.

“The rate imposed is irrespective of the holding period and the category of the owner,” he added.

The 5% rate will be implemented through the Real Property Gains Tax (Exemption) Order 2009.

“This order will be gazetted as soon as possible and is effective Jan 1, 2010.

“Therefore, the current rate of RPGT, which is higher than 5% as in Schedule 5 of the Real Property Gains Tax 1976, will no longer be applicable,” he said.

However, exemptions to individuals are given as follows:

● The level of exemption is increased from RM5,000 to RM10,000 or 10% of the chargeable gains, whichever is the higher;

● Gifts between parent and child, husband and wife, grandparent and grandchild; and

● Disposal of a residential property once in a lifetime.

There was some confusion when after the budget announcement last Friday, Deloitte Malaysia country tax leader Ronnie Lim said in a statement that the highest rate for RPGT was 30%.

Based on the Finance Bill, Lim said, disposal within two years of acquisition will be taxed 30%; in the third year, it will be 20%; in the fourth year 15%, while disposal within five years and beyond, will still be subject to 5% tax.

“Through our press release of Oct 23 in connection with Budget 2010, we reported on the proposed changes to the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) Act 1976 as a result of the Finance Bill.

“The Finance Bill retained all the holding period sensitive rates of RPGT in force prior to the suspension of that tax (in April 2007) but, in respect of individuals, introduced a 5% tax rate in place of a nil rate for disposals which take place after the fifth year from acquisition date.

“Apart from this rate change, the existing rates of RPGT in effect prior to the suspension of that tax were not altered by the Finance Bill,’’ Lim explained in a statement yesterday.

“The Ministry of Finance has issued a press release on the matter and explained that a 5% rate of RPGT, irrespective of holding period and category of tax payer, individuals or companies, will be introduced through a ministerial exemption order.

“When the ministerial exemption order is issued and gazetted, the rates of tax in the RPGT Act will be modified by the rates in the order.

“Generally, such orders are temporary in nature and specify a commencement and cessation date. These orders may also be renewed or revoked.

“As long as the order is in force, the rates of RPGT in the Act, which begin at 30%, will be over-ridden by the rates to be specified in the order,’’ Lim said, adding that a flurry of property transactions was expected before the end of the year.

By The Star

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