Take advantage of your year-end tax breaks

YEAR 2021 will soon be coming to an end. For individuals, there are only a few weeks left to make use of their tax reliefs. Since the Covid-19 pandemic has made it a difficult year for Malaysians, spending your money wisely before Dec 31 to maximise your tax reliefs is a sensible way to reduce your tax bill for the year.

The reliefs that you should take advantage of will include the RM2,500 lifestyle relief for purchase of books, magazines, newspapers (hardcopy or e-copy), computers, smartphones, tablets, sports equipment, gym membership and internet subscription. For those who are buying computers, smartphones and tablets, there will be an additional relief of RM2,500 available. In case you spend more than RM5,000, you are only entitled to the relief up to RM5,000. For those purchasing sports equipment, there is an additional RM500 for you to spend.

In case you have not done your medical checkup for the year, you can use the RM1,000 relief to offset the checkup fees, and you are also entitled to another RM1,000 for vaccination. Similarly, you should consider using the RM3,000 relief available to purchase to private retirement or deferred annuity schemes. There is also an RM8,000 relief for contribution to your children’s education under the Skim Simpanan Pendidikan 1Malaysia.

If your life insurance premiums are below RM3,000 annually, you can top-up the differential up to a maximum premium payable of RM3,000 for the year. On top of this, you are entitled to purchase education and medical insurance of RM3,000.

You’re entitled to another RM8,000 relief for medical treatment, special needs and carer expenses for parents (medical conditions certified by medical practitioner).

If case you haven’t taken a holiday, you should take advantage of the tax relief of RM1,000 that can be spent on hotels and other accommodation registered with the Commissioner of Tourism and entrance fees to domestic tourist attractions.

You can also register and pay for upskilling and self-enhancement courses which will entitle you to a tax relief of RM1,000. For those who are paying and attending courses at institutions of higher learning or tertiary education in institution or professional bodies in Malaysia, the maximum relief allowed is RM7,000.

For disabled taxpayers or for those who wish to purchase supporting equipment for their disabled spouse, child or parents, you are entitled to claim a tax relief of RM6,000.

In case you are renting out properties, it may be timely to bring forward any repair and maintenance expenditure before Dec 31 in order to reduce your taxable rental income.

Remit your foreign sourced income before Dec 31

To avoid being taxed in 2022, try and bring in your foreign sourced income such as employment income, rental income, interest income or business income before Dec 31, 2021.

Record keeping

Before claiming the tax reliefs mentioned above, please do not forget to keep all proof of spending such as statements, invoices, and receipts to substantiate your tax relief claim for the year 2021 to prepare for a possible audit by the tax authorities in the future. Under the tax laws, you are required to keep the records supporting your tax returns up to a period of seven years.

This article was contributed by Thannees Tax Consulting Services Sdn Bhd managing director SM Thanneermalai.