Tax in Malaysia

       

Shearn Delamore & Co

Shearn Delamore & Co advises on tax litigation, audits and investigations for a range of multinational clients, particularly in the oil and gas industry. The team is led by Goh Ka Im, a partner with the full array of tax experience, advising on income, corporate and real property gains tax. Anand Raj is noted for his litigation expertise, and for combining the ability to 'strategise' with 'good knowledge of the industry.' Transfer pricing matters and investigations are a key part of his practice. Foong Pui Chi is a noted team member.

Practice head(s):

Goh Ka Im

Other key lawyers:

Anand Raj; Foong Pui Chi

Testimonials

‘Strategising approach taking into account the risks. Strong in litigation process.’

‘Anand Raj – Confident, strategic approach,  good knowledge of the industry.’

‘Foong Pui Chi – good analytic skills, thorough, well versed in Industry practices.’

Key clients

CIMB Bank Berhad

Diebold Nixdorf Sdn Bhd (formerly known as Wincor Nixdorf (M) Sdn Bhd)

United Malacca Berhad

Maximum Vista Sdn Bhd

Altera Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd

ExxonMobil Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Shell Refining Company (FOM) Berhad

Petronas Penapisan (Terengganu) Sdn Bhd

Boston Consulting Group Sdn Bhd

United Plantations Berhad

Malaysia LNG Sdn Bhd

Vijaya Lakshmi Devi d/o Nadchatiram

Kompleks Tanjong Malim Sdn Bhd

Bridgestone Chemical Products (M) Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Acted for CIMB Bank Berhad (“CIMB Bank”) in a tax appeal before the Special Commissioners of Income Tax (“SCIT”) following the position taken by the Revenue to disallow its capital allowance (“CA”) claims on the capital expenditure incurred in acquiring customer databases from another bank.
  • Act for Bridgestone Chemical Products (M) Sdn Bhd (“Bridgestone”) in judicial review proceedings instituted before the High Court against the Minister of Finance (“MOF”) and the Director General of Customs (“Customs”) to challenge the MOF’s refusal to grant a remission on sales tax, import duties and goods and services tax, purportedly payable by the company (“Taxes”).
  • Acted for the Malaysian Bar in legal proceedings against the Revenue to determine the extent of the Revenue’s powers to purportedly undertake tax audits on the clients’ accounts of law firms and whether legal professional privilege (or also known as attorney or solicitor-client privilege) would prevent the Revenue from so doing.

Wong & Partners

Wong & Partners's tax practice offers 'strong expertise on tax matters' including advice on local and international tax planning, wealth management, global structuring and work on transfer pricing. Adeline Wong heads up the department and her primary focus is tax audits, tax controversies and corporate tax planning. Jason Liang heads up the tax controversy group, with experience handling every aspect of tax litigation, appearing in national courts and tax tribunals. On the indirect tax side the 'stand out' Yvonne Beh is the key partner as she advises clients on double tax treaties, withholding tax and real property gains tax. Leading the transfer pricing sub-group is Krystal Ng where she focuses on issues arising in relation to cross-border transactions and post M&A transactions.

Testimonials

‘The team’s strength is being able to provide both technical tax advice as well as strong support on general corporate / commercial aspects, which often results in very well-rounded guidance for clients.’

‘The firm demonstrates strong expertise on tax matters and has been able to persistently follow up on the engagement. The proposed fee is reasonable as to the complexity/ quality of the works and is, for sure, good value for money. Also, the team that I have been working with demonstrates excellent teamwork.

‘Jason Liang is easy to work with and has good knowledge and insights on tax-related disputes in Malaysia. He has been very persistent to achieve the target result. He is also helpful for clients to understand the pros and cons of the legal actions involved.

‘Senior associate Kellie Allison is helpful and always has a positive attitude in pursuing long dragged on court proceedings that are common in Malaysia.’

‘Krystal Ng – she is responsive and professional, and very pleasant to work with.’

‘The team strives to understand the client’s business and practices in-depth to advise on the issues from the client’s perspective. This approach of inside-looking out versus the traditional advisory approach of outside-looking-in is very engaging and helps to ask what can be done better or differently.’

‘Yvonne Beh and Sarah Sheah stand out amongst the individuals I’ve worked with. They consistently approach the issues and problems from the client’s perspective and tempered it with their legal / tax opinion(s). They also constantly sought to provide legislative updates at the earliest opportunity.’

‘Best team in terms of service level, technical competence, and problem-solving capabilities.’

Key clients

UNIQLO Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.

Press Metal Aluminium Berhad

Giesecke & Devrient Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Lazada Asia Limited

Procter & Gamble

Western Digital Corporation

Work highlights

  • Assisted Abbott Laboratories, a global healthcare company with a portfolio of leading, science-based offerings in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic pharmaceuticals in rendering strategic Malaysian tax advice in connection with their post-acquisition integration of St. Jude Medical entities in Malaysia.
  • Successfully represented a holding company incorporated under the Labuan Companies Act 1990 (“Taxpayer”), in an appeal against the decision by the Malaysian Inland Revenue Board (“IRB”). The issue litigated before the High Court concerned the application and interpretation of the Stamp Duty (Exemption) (No. 3) Order 2012 (“Exemption Order”), which allows stamp duty exemption on instruments executed by a Labuan entity in connection with a Labuan business activity. The High Court’s landmark decision held that the IRB was wrong in insisting that paragraph 3(c) of the Exemption Order must be applied for transfer of shares involving Labuan entities.
  • Represented UNIQLO Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., a Malaysian subsidiary of a multinational company in the retail industry (“Taxpayer”), in a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal against the High Court’s dismissal of the Taxpayer’s application for judicial review (“JR Application”). The Taxpayer applied for a special refund of sales tax for goods held on hand (“Special Refund Application”) under Section 190 of the Goods and Services Tax Act 2014 (“GST Act”). The Director General of Customs and Excise (“Director General”) rejected the Taxpayer’s Special Refund Application without providing any reason for the rejection. The Court of Appeal unanimously agreed with the Taxpayer and quashed the High Court’s decision, allowing the Taxpayer’s appeal. The Court of Appeal unequivocally stated that taxpayers have the right to obtain reasons for the decisions of tax authorities.

Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill

Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill's practice has a 'great working knowledge of tax affairs in Malaysia.' The group advises on tax audits, transfer pricing cases and disputes. Co-team lead Nitin Nadkarni is notable for his dual tax advisory and tax disputes experience, having worked in the area for over two decades. He is active in multiple industries and several jurisdictions including Korea, Vietnam and Singapore. Jason Tan Jia Xin has appeared before all the courts of Malaysia on anti-dumping cases and tax appeals.

Testimonials

‘Team has a great working knowledge of tax affairs in Malaysia.’

‘Advice provided is succinct and commercially pitched with recommendations.’

‘Deep, practical knowledge of tax laws and able to provide practical recommendations. Advice and guidance provided in a very timely manner, highly approachable.’

Key clients

OSIM (M) Sdn Bhd

Mycron Steel Berhad

PGEO Group Sdn Bhd and Wilmar Edible Oils Sdn Bhd (subsidiaries of Wilmar International Limited)

Tower REIT

Malayan Banking Berhad

Sarawak Energy Berhad

NS Bluescope Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Osim Sdn Bhd in its tax appeal against transfer pricing adjustments issued by the Director General of Inland Revenue (“DGIR”). The assessments were made against OSIM on the basis that the various transactions it had entered had not been at arm’s length.
  • Represented Mycron Steel in its successful application for anti-dumping duties in respect of the importation of cold-rolled steel coil products from China, Korea, Vietnam and Japan to Malaysia.
  • Represented various subsidiaries of the PGEO Group (“PGEO”) in judicial review applications against the Director General of Customs (“Customs”). The applications were made to quash the various Bills of Demand issued by Customs on the basis that the subsidies received by PGEO from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board and the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs are taxable supplies on which GST is chargeable and should have been paid.

Raja, Darryl & Loh

Raja, Darryl & Loh is active on a broad range of tax matters, offering a comprehensive service which includes tax litigation; it represents clients in the Malaysian Courts and tribunals. Its advisory work spans income tax, real property gains tax, sales and service tax and customs duties. The firm specialises in the healthcare, hospitality, insurance, manufacturing, and oil and gas sectors. Vijey Krishnan is active on both the contentious and non-contentious side of tax work, with work on a variety of cases, including those relating to deductibility of employee share option charges claimed by subsidiaries of listed companies. William Wong provides tax advice in relation to business structures and e-commerce platforms.

Practice head(s):

Vijey Mohana Krishnan

Other key lawyers:

William Wong

Key clients

Heineken Malaysia Berhad

JT International Berhad

Work highlights

  • Advised Heineken Malaysia Berhad  in a valuation dispute with the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, whereby the Royal Malaysian Customs Department ultimately agreed to drop the entire claim for additional sales tax and penalty, and to significantly reduce the claim for additional excise duty.
  • Acted for the client, the subsidiary of a listed company, in proceedings for judicial review of the decision of the Minister of Finance to direct the Director General of Customs to issue a bill of demand to collect GST on service that was zero-rated. The appeal by Customs to the Court of Appeal has been dismissed.
  • Represented the client in an appeal before the Customs Appeal Tribunal on the issue of whether construction services provided to the Government of Malaysia’s special purpose vehicle for the Malaysian Light Rail Transit (LRT) system are zero-rated for the purposes of GST.

Skrine

Skrine advises on tax audits and investigations and represent clients in court and before the relevant tribunals on matters relating to corporate and sales and service taxes. The department is led by Preetha Pillai, a commercial litigator with decades of experience, who handles contentious tax matters, representing clients in disputes with the tax authorities. Vijay Raj is a litigator with a broad practice, and appears at all levels of the Malaysian courts. He has represented oil and gas companies in challenging the imposition of rates by the local governments upon pipelines and refineries.

Practice head(s):

Preetha Pillai

Other key lawyers:

Vijay Raj