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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Maicsa welcomes break in secretarial, tax filing fees

Publication: NST
Date of publication: Nov 5, 2013
Section heading: Business Times
Page number: 003
Byline / Author: By Ooi Tee Ching

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIA Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (Maicsa) welcomes the government's move to accord income tax deduction of up to RM5,000 for secretarial and RM10,000 for tax filing fees from 2015 and subsequent years.

"It's heartening that the government has heeded our calls to accord company expenses as tax deduction for corporates when they file their income tax returns. Although the deduction is capped at RM5,000 for secretarial fees, it certainly will incentivise better remuneration within the industry," said Maicsa president Peter Lim Thiam Kee.

Since 2007, Lim said Maicsa has actively lobbied to the Finance Ministry for full deduction of company secretarial expenses when corporates file their income tax returns with the Inland Revenue Board.

Asked if Maicsa would press on with this lobby despite the government according deduction of up to RM5,000, Lim replied, "Yes, we will need to because it is the right thing to do.

"Full deduction of company secretarial expenses in corporate income tax filings will help createa more business-friendly climate, he said in an interview, here, recently.

When tabling the 2014 Budget on October 25, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that the goods and services tax (GST) would be enforced from April 1 2015, replacing the current sales and services tax.

In view of this, Maicsa expects boardroom agenda to include discussion on how the company fine-tunes its responsibility to determine its risk management framework and internal controls in the GST implementation.

"The GST is a game-changer. Maicsa members, especially Chartered Secretaries, play a vital role in advising company directors to plan forward and be GST-ready," Lim said.

"This is because all affected companies and organisations must have the ability to deliver the right tax at the right time through processes, systems and skills."

Recently, Maicsa had taken to adopt the Governance Principles for Corporate Secretaries developed by Corporate Secretaries International Association's (CSIA) to encourage good governance framework in their organisations.

"As the business and regulatory environment becomes more complicated in compliance, disclosure and shareholder activism, corporate secretaries are seen to be indispensable gate-keepers in helping board of directors to navigate the often 'uneven' business and regulatory landscape," said CSIA honorary secretary Dr Cheah Foo Seong.

Chartered Secretaries' role in corporate governance is further enhanced as Bank Negara Malaysia had recently issued a new set of guidelines on the fit and proper criteria for certain personnel of financial institutions.

"One of the key changes introduced is the role of the company secretary of banks, and the conditions for the assessment and appointment of the company secretary, is now regulated by Bank Negara," said Maicsa deputy president Chua Siew Chuan .

Established in 1959, Maicsa is part of The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), which has 36,000 members in more than 70 countries.

To date, it has a relatively strong support of 4,200 members and graduates, 3,200 students and 800 affiliates in Malaysia.

CSIA is an international federation of professional bodies that was launched in March 2011 to promote corporate secretaryship and good governance.

Maicsa represents Malaysia's voice in this grouping.

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