Hornbill Unleashed

November 11, 2016

On taxing Malaysian celebrities

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 9:01 PM

There is a lot to be said when we hear that celebrities are having problem with taxes – to the point of asking for deductions – especially when their income level breaches to perhaps the one percent or higher.

Let us take for example Malay comedian Nabil who was featured in Utusan Malaysia on Nov 4 – in which he explained having to fork out RM500,000 in taxes. Having started his career in 2009, he lamented having to have paid RM500,000 in the past three years beginning from 2012.

Sounds a lot, doesn’t it? Not really.

If we were to look at the Internal Revenue Board (LHDN) website page here, we would note that what Nabil pays for in taxes – averages out to RM166,666.67 a year.

This would mean that he was making at least RM600,000 to RM 1 million and above within the average period of three years.

As a matter of fact, he paid a quarter of his income to the LHDN while surviving on pretty much the rest of RM400,000 to RM800,000 a year – which is about RM33,333 to RM66,666 a month.

Now, perhaps this income is also deducted for makeup and “operating costs” – as Nora Danish wishes it to be and the LHDN has actually explained as allowed – but where do you draw the line?

As I tweeted and I still hold to this day – it is starting to sound as if the world where the fashion/model parody movie Zoolander might actually be real. It reads as if the LHDN is actually giving tax breaks to the people for being “really, really, good looking”.

And I will be frank. Nora became a victim of circumstance for not knowing the backlash Malaysian artists were already facing before she was quoted demanding a tax break.

First, it was highlighted that the so-called cosmetic queen Datuk Vida was facing charges for not registering nor paying the Goods and Services Tax (GST) – a tax that every Malaysian is in fact paying regardless of their race, religion, income or even geographical location.

Even the Orang Asli currently blockading the logging companies in Kelantan would still have to pay GST in one form or another when shopping. So, what exactly is her excuse?

And worse, here is a woman sponsoring TV3 to the point that her advertorial is part of Buletin Utama, and even painted the Kelantan football team pink.

And then, of course, there was the case of actress Rozita Che Wan. As reported by the Malay tabloid websites, the colloquially called Che Ta was barred from leaving the country.

She had wanted to celebrate her newborn’s birthday in London, but had not paid income taxes and thus, was blacklisted by the Malaysian Immigration Department. Instead, she had to celebrate her child’s birthday party at the Ritz Carlton in Kuala Lumpur.

You read right – she could not pay income taxes. Heck, even the delivery of the birthday child was sponsored by the Kumpulan Perubatan Johor (KPJ), but there you go – celebrating with a bang at the Ritz.

And I am sure that Nabil was in the know when he commented to Utusan about the matter of taxes. He was quoted saying this:
“We have to make the past few cases of other artists as examples. We need to take heed from the cases that took place before this.”

And while I do support NGO for artists Karyawan pushing to assist artists with their taxes, we need to take a look at the fact that these people are in fact in the one percent, if not even higher.

Personally, to paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, “I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilisation.”

But of course, take advantage of the breaks offered to you. We all do.

Source : Hafidz Baharom@The Heat Malaysia Online


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