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Friday, January 10, 2014

Scramble is on to engage GST experts

Friday, 10 January 2014 10:00 Tanu Pandey 

With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) looming ahead next year, financial consultancy firms are wasting no time to reach out to engage experts to provide support in terms of technical and industry expertise.

The GST, which may have raised hackles in many quarters, promises more business for these firms who could build on their human capital to service swelling requests from clients to get "GST ready".

“There has been a significant increase/ surge in requests for proposals (RFP) from current clients and non-clients since the announcement of the GST implementation date in Budget 2014,” global tax, audit and consultancy firm Ernst & Young (EY) Advisory Services Sdn Bhd tax partner Bernard Yap told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

As GST will replace the existing indirect tax system and bring one common tax at the rate of 6% for all goods and services, companies in Malaysia are preparing themselves in reference to their internal processes.

“In view of the surge in demand for our services, we have also reached out to our global offices within the EY network to provide us with support in terms of technical and industry expertise, and these resources will be seconded to Malaysia for the necessary period of time,” Yap said.

EY currently has 20 professionals who have experience in managing GST projects.

“There is a very good market at the moment for those who have experience in implementing GST. We may be contacting our offices in other parts of the world to support us for GST,” ED of Deloitte’s tax practice K Sandra Segaran told TMR recently.

The GST has attracted criticism from manufacturers, public at large and the Opposition as the new tax system will raise prices.

However, the government is trying to allay fears by disseminating information about the benefits of implementing GST.

Apart from financial consultancy firms, the IT consultancy is also looking at increasing business from the implementation of GST by companies.

GST requires a good IT infrastructure and training as all sales need to be captured accurately and it needs to be done electronically.

While companies like GHL Systems Bhd — Malaysia’s largest e-payment firm by market share — are still not sure of their earning estimates post- GST, the share prices of GHL saw a surge on hopes that it will benefit from GST implementation.

“The government has still not come out with clear regulations on GST so it is not easy to estimate the earnings that the tax system will add for us. We have to wait till this year to get a clear picture,” GHL Group CEO Raj Lorenz told TMR.

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