Taxation in Malaysia

Updated on Friday 28th May 2021

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Malaysia is tax-friendly country, but income taxes are imposed on profits derived from the country, with exceptions for the resident companies that have businesses in the following areas: insurance or banking and air/sea transport. The income tax is low and many of the taxes applied in other countries do not exist here. More so, the annual wealth taxes, estate duties, federal taxes, or accumulated earnings are not levied in the country. More about the taxation in Malaysia can be discussed with our tax lawyer in Malaysia.

Corporate Tax Rate in Malaysia

The corporate income tax in Malaysia is a form of tax that is collected from companies. The total amount requested is based on the net income that the company obtained while exercising its own business activity (normally) during one business year. The revenues from the corporate tax are one of the most important sources of income for the government of Malaysia. Here are a few of the most important taxes in Malaysia:
  1. The Malaysia corporate tax rate is set at a 25% rate.
  2. The personal income tax rate ranges between 24% and 30% rate, depending on the registered income. 
  3. The sales tax rate is set at 10%, but a reduced rate of 5% is applicable, while the social security rate for companies and employees is set at a 6.2% rate.
  4. Apart from the corporate tax, another tax for companies is the value-added tax, or SST, set at 6% rate and introduced in 2018.

The following video presented by our lawyers contains additional information about taxation in Malaysia:


Taxes for residents and non-residents

Everyone who stays in the country for more than 182 days (regardless of his/her nationality) will be considered a resident under the Malaysian tax law. Those who stay less than 182 days are taxed based on a different scale and are considered non-residents. Another group of people, specifically those employed in Malaysia (less than sixty days in a year), people over 55 years of age, who receive Malaysian pension, and the ones who obtain interest from banks, are tax exempt.  Our Malaysian lawyers mentioned there is a program called Malaysia, My Second Home in which expatriates do not have to pay taxes on their pensions. As an example, Malaysia also has agreements for the avoidance of double taxation, available for several countries. For more details regarding these treaties, do not hesitate to talk with our tax lawyer in Malaysia

The VAT/SST registration in Malaysia

The VAT in Malaysia is the Sales and Services Tax (SST) and replaced the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2018. The standard VAT/SST rate in Malaysia is set at a 6% rate and applies to several types of products and services available for sale purposes. In terms of registration for VAT/SST in Malaysia, companies with turnovers exceeding MYR 500,000 each year must register for this tax. As for the payment of VAT/SST in Malaysia, the tax is found on the final price of goods and services, and paid by the final consumer. There are also VAT exemptions, like companies dealing with non-taxable goods, jewelers, etc. More about the newly introduced VAT in Malaysia can be offered by our team of lawyers in Malaysia who can help companies register for this kind of tax.

Capital gains taxation in Malaysia

A very appreciated tax relief refers to the sale of investments or capital assets that are not subject to the capital gains tax in Malaysia. On the other hand, the real property gains tax or the RPGT is applicable to the sale of lands in Malaysia. This kind of tax is set at a 30% rate for the sale of properties after 3 years from the date of purchase. Tax rates between 15% and 20% apply to the same property sale after having ownership for at least 5 years. More about the capital gains tax in Malaysia can be offered by our tax lawyer in Malaysia.

Deductions and tax credits in Malaysia

In Malaysia, deductions are allowed for interest expenses if earned on any money lent and employed in the production of gross income. Contributions and donations are also subject to deductions in Malaysia, alongside recruitment and incorporation expenses. There are also tax incentives granted in Malaysia if investments are made in fields like tourism, environment protection, accommodation, and tourism. You can find out more about tax deductions in Malaysia if you get in touch with our tax lawyer in Malaysia.

The petroleum income tax in Malaysia

Malaysia imposes the petroleum income tax of 38% rate for companies activating in this field. As for incomes derived from petroleum activities in marginal fields in Malaysia, the tax is set at a 25% rate. International entrepreneurs with operations in the oil & gas field are invited to talk to our tax lawyer in Malaysia and find out more about taxation in this field.

Is there a stamp duty in Malaysia?

Yes, the stamp duty ranges between 1% and 4% and it is settled based on the price of the sold property in Malaysia. The share transaction documents is subject to a stamp duty of 0.3%.

Making investments in Malaysia

Malaysia is a very much appreciated business and financial center in Asia and home to a large number of companies established with foreign capital. The legislation related to foreign investments is relaxed and allows international entrepreneurs to enjoy the business advantages and to start a company in a safe and reliable climate. There are many reasons why foreigners choose Malaysia for business and investment. The country is quite attractive from many points of view and provides a stable economy that represents one of the most important advantages. Manufacturing, tourism, petroleum, real estate, finance, green energy, and e-commerce represent a few of the prolific sectors in Malaysia where international investors can thrive through their businesses. The infrastructure and logistics also play a great role in creating a solid and stable business in Malaysia. The following facts and figures show the business and economic direction of Malaysia:
  1. In terms of total FDI stock, Malaysia registered around USD 169 billion in 2019.
  2. Most of the investments in Malaysia come from countries like Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands.
  3. The 2020 Doing Business report ranked Malaysia 12 out of 190 economies in the world.
  4. Nearly USD 9 billion was the total value of the greenfield investments in Malaysia.

Choosing our tax lawyer in Malaysia

Knowing the tax regime in advance will represent a great advantage for foreign investors in Malaysia. This is why it is important to collaborate and communicate with a tax lawyer in Malaysia right from the start, at the time the business is registered in Malaysia. Our clients can rely on professionalism, transparency, and proficiency when working with our tax lawyer in Malaysia. We remind you that our specialists work closely with the tax authorities in Malaysia and can help both domestic and foreign entrepreneurs register for taxation in this country.

The institution which is responsible for taxation is the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia. It provides detailed information on all tax issues but, in case you are not able to find something regarding tax deductions or income tax scale, our attorneys in Malaysia will be able to help with the situation. Contact us for in-depth details and legal advice.