Tax Exemption/Pioneer Status

Pioneer Status


In Malaysia, tax incentives, both direct and indirect, are provided for in the Promotion of Investments Act 1986, Income Tax Act 1967, Customs Act 1967, Sales Tax Act 1972, Excise Act 1976 and Free Zones Act 1990. These Acts cover investments in the manufacturing, agriculture, tourism (including hotel) and approved services sectors as well as R&D, training and environmental protection activities.

The direct tax incentives grant partial or total relief from income tax payment for a specified period, while indirect tax incentives are in the form of exemptions from import duty, sales tax and excise duty.

1. Incentives for the Manufacturing Sector

1.1 Main Incentives for Manufacturing Companies

The major tax incentives for companies investing in the manufacturing sector are the Pioneer Status and the Investment Tax Allowance.

Eligibility for Pioneer Status and Investment Tax Allowance is based on certain priorities, including the level of value-added, technology used and industrial linkages. Eligible activities and products are termed as "promoted activities" or "promoted products". (See List of Promoted Activities and Products - General)

(i) Pioneer Status

A company granted Pioneer Status enjoys a 5-year partial exemption from the payment of income tax. It pays tax on 30% of its statutory income*, with the exemption period commencing from its Production Day (defined as the day its production level reaches 30% of its capacity).

Unabsorbed capital allowances as well as accumulated losses incurred during the pioneer period can be carried forward and deducted from the post pioneer income of the company.

To encourage investments in promoted areas i.e. the States of Sabah, Sarawak, Perlis and the designated "Eastern Corridor"+ of Peninsular Malaysia, applications received from companies located in these areas will enjoy a 100% tax exemption on their statutory income during their 5-year exemption period.
Applications received by 31 December 2010 are eligible for this incentive.

* Statutory Income is derived after deducting revenue expenditure and capital allowances from the gross income.

+ The "Eastern Corridor" of Peninsular Malaysia covers the States of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang, and the district of Mersing in the State of Johor.

Applications for Pioneer Status should be submitted to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA).

(ii) Investment Tax Allowance

As an alternative to Pioneer Status, a company may apply for Investment Tax Allowance (ITA). A company granted ITA is entitled to an allowance of 60% on its qualifying capital expenditure (factory, plant, machinery or other equipment used for the approved project) incurred within five years from the date the first qualifying capital expenditure is incurred.

The company can offset this allowance against 70% of its statutory income for each year of assessment. Any unutilised allowance can be carried forward to subsequent years until fully utilised. The remaining 30% of its statutory income will be taxed at the prevailing company tax rate.

For the promoted areas i.e. the States of Sabah, Sarawak, Perlis and the designated "Eastern Corridor" of Peninsular Malaysia, applications received from companies located in these areas will enjoy an allowance of 100% on the qualifying capital expenditure incurred within a period of five years. The allowance can be utilised to offset against 100% of the statutory income for each year of assessment. Applications received by 31 December 2010 are eligible for this incentive.

Applications should be submitted to MIDA.

1.2 Incentives for Relocating Manufacturing Activities to Promoted Areas

In order to reduce the costs of doing business and to provide a competitive business environment, existing companies which relocate their manufacturing activities to the promoted areas, are eligible for the following incentives:

i.
Pioneer Status with income tax exemption of 100% of statutory income for a period of five years; Unabsorbed capital allowances as well as accumulated losses incurred during the pioneer period can be carried forward and deducted from the post pioneer income of the company; or
ii.
Investment Tax Allowance of 100% on the qualifying capital expenditure incurred within a period of five years. The allowance can be utilised to offset against 100% of the statutory income for each year of assessment. Any unutilised allowances can be carried forward to subsequent years until fully utilised.

Applications should be submitted to MIDA.

1.3 Incentives for High Technology Companies

A high technology company is a company engaged in promoted activities or in the production of promoted products in areas of new and emerging technologies (See List of Promoted Activities and Products - High Technology Companies).

A high technology company qualifies for:

i.
Pioneer Status with income tax exemption of 100% of the statutory income for a period of five years. Unabsorbed capital allowances as well as accumulated losses incurred during the pioneer period can be carried forward and deducted from the post pioneer income of the company; or
ii.
Investment Tax Allowance of 60% (100% for promoted areas) on the qualifying capital expenditure incurred within five years from the date the first qualifying capital expenditure is incurred. The allowance can be utilised to offset against 100% of the statutory income for each year of assessment. Any unutilised allowances can be carried forward to subsequent years until fully utilised.

Applications should be submitted to MIDA.

The high technology company must fulfil the following criteria:

i.
The percentage of local R & D expenditure to gross sales should be at least 1% on an annual basis. The company has three years from its date of operation or commencement of business to comply with this requirement.
ii.
Scientific and technical staff having degrees or diplomas with a minimum of 5 years experience in related fields should comprise at least 7% of the company's total workforce.
1.4 Incentives for Strategic Projects

Strategic projects involve products or activities of national importance. They generally involve heavy capital investments with long gestation periods, have high levels of technology, are integrated, generate extensive linkages, and have significant impact on the economy. Such projects qualify for:

i.
Pioneer Status with income tax exemption of 100% of the statutory income for a period of ten years; Unabsorbed capital allowances as well as accumulated losses incurred during the pioneer period can be carried forward and deducted from the post pioneer income of the company; or
ii.
Investment Tax Allowance of 100% on the qualifying capital expenditure incurred within five years from the date the first qualifying capital expenditure is incurred. This allowance can be offset against 100% of the statutory income for each year of assessment. Any unutilised allowances can be carried forward to subsequent years until fully utilised.

Applications should be submitted to MIDA.

1.5 Incentives for Small and Medium Companies
Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs)

Effective from the year assessment of 2009, for the purpose of imposition of income tax and tax incentives, the definition of SMEs is reviewed as a company resident in Malaysia with a paid up capital of ordinary shares of RM2.5 million or less at the beginning of the basis period of a year of assessment whereby such company cannot be controlled by another company with a paid up capital exceeding RM2.5 million.

SMEs are eligible for a reduced corporate tax of 20% on chargeable incomes of up to RM500,000. The tax rate on the remaining chargeable income is maintained at 25%.

Small Scale Manufacturing Companies

Small scale manufacturing companies incorporated in Malaysia with shareholders' funds not exceeding RM500,000 and having at least 60% Malaysian equity are eligible for the following incentives:

i.
Pioneer Status with income tax exemption of 100% of the statutory income for a period of five years. Unabsorbed capital allowances as well as accumulated losses incurred during the pioneer period can be carried forward and deducted from the post pioneer income of the company; or
ii.
Investment Tax Allowance of 60% (100% for promoted areas) on the qualifying capital expenditure incurred within five years. This allowance can be offset against 100% of the statutory income for each year of assessment. Any unutilised allowances can be carried forward to subsequent years until fully utilised.

A sole proprietorship or partnership is eligible to apply for this incentive provided a new private limited/limited company is formed to take over the existing production/activities. To qualify for the incentive, a small-scale company has to comply with one of the following criteria:

i.
The value-added must be at least 15%; or
ii.
The project contributes towards the socio-economic development of the rural population.

The company shall carry out the manufacture of products or participate in activities listed as promoted products and activities for small-scale companies (See List of Promoted Activities and Products - Small Scale Companies)

Applications should be submitted to MIDA.

1.6 Incentives to Strengthen Industrial Linkages

To encourage large companies to participate in an Industrial Linkage Programme (ILP), expenditure incurred in training of employees, product development and testing, and factory auditing to ensure the quality of vendors' products, will be allowed as a deduction in the computation of income tax.

Vendors, including small and medium enterprises that propose to manufacture promoted products or participate in promoted activities in an ILP (See List of Promoted Activities and Products- Industrial Linkage Programmes), are eligible for the following incentives:

i.
Pioneer Status with income tax exemption of 100% of the statutory income for a period of five years. Unabsorbed capital allowances as well as accumulated losses incurred during the pioneer period can be carried forward and deducted from the post pioneer income of the company; or
ii.

Investment Tax Allowance of 60% (100% for promoted areas) on the qualifying capital expenditure incurred within five years. This allowance can be offset against 100% of the statutory income for each year of assessment. Any unutilised allowances can be carried forward to subsequent years until fully utilised.

To encourage vendors to manufacture promoted products or participate in activities for the international market, vendors in an approved ILP who are capable of achieving world-class standards in terms of price, quality and capacity, are eligible for the following incentives:

i.
Pioneer Status with income tax exemption of 100% of the statutory income for a period of ten years; Unabsorbed capital allowances as well as accumulated losses incurred during the pioneer period can be carried forward and deducted from the post pioneer income of the company; or
ii.

Investment Tax Allowance of 100% on the qualifying capital expenditure incurred within a period of five years which the company can offset against 100% of the statutory income for each year of assessment. Any unutilised allowances can be carried forward to subsequent years until fully utilised.

Applications received by 31 December 2010 are eligible for these incentives.

Applications should be submitted to MIDA.

1.7 Incentives for the Machinery and Equipment Industry
1.7.1 Incentives for the Production of Specialised Machinery and Equipment

Companies undertaking activities in the production of specialised machinery and equipment, namely, machine tools, plastic injection machines, plastic extrusion machinery, material handling equipment, packaging machinery, robotics and factory automation equipment, specialised/process machinery or equipment for specific industries, and parts and components of the mentioned machinery and equipment, are eligible for:

i.
Pioneer Status with income tax exemption of 100% of the statutory income for a period of ten years. Unabsorbed capital allowances as well as accumulated losses incurred during the pioneer period can be carried forward and deducted from the post pioneer income of the company; or
ii.

Investment Tax Allowance of 100% on the qualifying capital expenditure incurred within five years from the date the first qualifying capital expenditure is incurred. This allowance can be offset against 100% of the statutory income for each year of assessment. Any unutilised allowances can be carried forward to subsequent years until fully utilised.

Applications should be submitted to MIDA.

1.7.2 Additional Incentives for the Production of Heavy Machinery

Existing locally-owned companies that reinvest in the production of heavy machinery such as cranes, quarry machinery, batching plant and port material handling equipment, are eligible for the following incentives:

i.
Pioneer Status with income tax exemption of 70% (100% for promoted areas) on the increased statutory income arising from the reinvestment projects for a period of five years. Unabsorbed capital allowances as well as accumulated losses incurred during the pioneer period can be carried forward and deducted from the post pioneer income of the company; or
ii.

Investment Tax Allowance of 60% (100% for promoted areas) on the additional qualifying capital expenditure incurred within a period of five years. The allowance can be offset against 70% (100% for promoted areas) of the statutory income for each year of assessment. Any unutilised allowances can be carried forward to subsequent years until fully utilised.

1.7.3 Additional Incentives for the Production of Machinery and Equipment

Existing locally-owned companies that reinvest in the production of machinery and equipment, including specialised machinery and equipment and machine tools, are eligible for the following incentives:

i.
Pioneer Status with income tax exemption of 70% (100% for promoted areas) on the increased statutory income arising from the reinvestment projects for a period of five years. Unabsorbed capital allowances as well as accumulated losses incurred during the pioneer period can be carried forward and deducted from the post pioneer income of the company; or
ii.

Investment Tax Allowance of 60% (100% for promoted areas) on the additional qualifying capital expenditure incurred within a period of five years. The allowance can be offset against 70% (100% for promoted areas) of the statutory income for each year of assessment. Any unutilised allowances can be carried forward to subsequent years until fully utilised.

1.8 Incentives for Automotive Component Modules or Systems

New and existing companies that undertake design, R&D and production of qualifying automotive component modules or systems are eligible for:

i.
Pioneer Status with income tax exemption of 100% of the statutory income for a period of five years. Unabsorbed capital allowances as well as accumulated losses incurred during the pioneer period can be carried forward and deducted from the post pioneer income of the company; or
ii.

Investment Tax Allowance of 60% (100% for promoted areas) on the qualifying capital expenditure incurred within five years from the date the first capital expenditure is incurred. The allowance can be offset against 100% of the statutory income for each year of assessment. Any unutilised allowances can be carried forward to subsequent years until fully utilised.

The qualifying modules or systems are front corner modules, rear corner modules, instrument panel modules, struts and absorbers and spring assembly modules, bumper modules, front cross member modules, function integrated door modules, fuel tank modules, seat modules, pedal modules, door trim modules, floor console modules, tyre and wheel modules, wiper systems, exhaust systems, audio systems, heater ventilation air-conditioning systems, power and signal distribution systems, alarm systems, seat belt systems, exterior lighting systems, body in white modules, engine management systems, safety systems, telematics, navigational systems, engine fuel injection systems, and vehicle intelligence systems.

1.8.1 Incentives for the Manufacture of Critical and High Value-added Parts and Components for the Automotive Industry

Companies undertaking the manufacture of selected critical and high value-added parts and components for the automotive industry are eligible for:

i.
Pioneer Status with income tax exemption of 100% of the statutory income for a period of ten years. Unabsorbed capital allowances as well as accumulated losses incurred during the pioneer period can be carried forward and deducted from the post pioneer income of the company; or
ii.

Investment Tax Allowance of 100% on the qualifying capital expenditure incurred within five years from the date the first qualifying capital expenditure is incurred. This allowance can be offset against 100% of the statutory income for each year of assessment. Any unutilised allowances can be carried forward to subsequent years until they are fully utilised.

The qualifying parts and components for the automotive industry are as follows:

•
tranmission systems;
•

brake systems;

•

airbag systems; and

•

steering systems.

The qualifying critical parts and components supporting the manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles are:

•
electric motors;
•

electric batteries;

•

Battery Management System;

•

inverters;

•

electric air conditioning; and

•

air compressors.

Applications recived by 31 December 2014 are eligible fo these incentives.

Applications should be submitted to MIDA.

1.9 Incentives for the Utilisation of Oil Palm Biomass

Companies that utilise oil palm biomass to produce value-added products such as particleboard, medium density fibreboard, plywood, and pulp and paper are eligible for the following incentives:

(i) New Companies
a.
Pioneer Status with income tax exemption of 100% of the statutory income for a period of ten years. Unabsorbed capital allowances as well as accumulated losses incurred during the pioneer period can be carried forward and deducted from the post pioneer income of the company; or
b.

Investment Tax Allowance of 100% on the qualifying capital expenditure incurred within a period of five years. The allowance can be offset against 100% of the statutory income for each year of assessment. Any unutilised allowances can be carried forward to subsequent years until fully utilised.

(ii) Existing Companies that Reinvest
a.
Pioneer Status with income tax exemption of 100% of the increased statutory income arising from the reinvestment for a period of ten years. Unabsorbed capital allowances as well as accumulated losses incurred during the pioneer period can be carried forward and deducted from the post pioneer income of the company; or
b.

Investment Tax Allowance of 100% on the additional qualifying capital expenditure incurred within a period of five years. The allowance can be offset against 100% of the statutory income for each year of assessment. Any unutilised allowances can be carried forward to subsequent years until fully utilised.

1.10 Additional Incentives for the Manufacturing Sector
(i) Reinvestment Allowance

Reinvestment Allowance (RA) is given to companies engaged in manufacturing*, and selected agricultural activities that reinvest for the purposes of expansion, automation. modernisation or diversification of its existing business into any related products within the same industry on condition that such companies have been in operation for at least 36 months effective from the year of assessment 2009.

The RA is given at the rate of 60% on the qualifying capital expenditure incurred by the company, and can be offset against 70% of its statutory income for the year of assessment. Any unutilised allowance can be carried forward to subsequent years until fully utilised.A company can offset the RA against 100% of its statutory income for the year of assessment if:

The company undertakes reinvestment projects in the promoted areas i.e. the States of Sabah, Sarawak, Perlis and the designated "Eastern Corridor" of Peninsular Malaysia; or

The company attains a productivity level exceeding the level determined by the Ministry of Finance. For further details on the prescribed productivity level for each sub-sector, please contact the Inland Revenue Board (see Useful Addresses - Relevant Organisations)

The RA will be given for a period of 15 consecutive years beginning from the year the first reinvestment is made. Companies can only claim the RA upon the completion of the qualifying project, i.e. after the building is completed or when the plant/machinery is put to operational use. With effect from the year of assessment 2009, company purchasing an asset from a related company within the same group where RA has been claimed on that asset is not allowed to claim RA on the same asset.

Assets acquired for the reinvestment cannot be disposed off within a period of five years from the time of the reinvestment and effective from the year of assessment 2009.

Companies that intend to reinvest before the expiry of its tax relief period, can surrender their Pioneer Status or Pioneer Certificate for purpose of cancellation and be eligible for RA.

Applications for RA should be submitted to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB), while applications for the surrender of Pioneer Status or Pioneer Certificate for RA should be submitted to MIDA.

*With effect from year of assessment 2009, manufacturing activities will be given a more specific and clear definition under Schedule 7A, Income Tax Act 1967.

(ii) Accelerated Capital Allowance

After the 15-year period of eligibility for RA, companies that reinvest in the manufacture of promoted products are eligible to apply for Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA). The ACA provides a special allowance, where the capital expenditure is written off within three years, i.e. an initial allowance of 40% and an annual allowance of 20%.

Applications should be submitted to the IRB accompanied by a letter from MIDA certifying that the companies are manufacturing promoted products.

SMEs are eligible for the following incentives:

•
ACA on expenses incurred on plant and machinery acquired in the year of assessment 2009 and 2010. This allowance is to be claimed within one year that is in the year of assessment the asset is fully acquired. This incentive is effective for the year of assessment 2009 and 2010; and
•

SMEs are not subject to the maximum limit of RM10,000 for capital allowance on small value assets effective from the year of assessment 2009.

Applications for ACA should be submitted to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).

(iii) Accelerated Capital Allowance on Equipment to Maintain Quality of Power Supply

In order to reduce the cost of doing business companies which incur capital expenditure on equipment to ensure the quality of power supply, are eligible for Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) for a period of two years which allows the companies to write off the capital expenditure within two years, i.e. an initial allowance of 20% and an annual allowance of 80%.

Only equipment determined by the Ministry of Finance is eligible for the ACA.

Applications should be submitted to IRB.

(iv) Accelerated Capital Allowance on Security Control Equipment

Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) is given on security control equipment installed in the factory premises of companies licensed under the Industrial Coordination Act 1975. This allowance is eligible to be claimed within one year.Effective from the year of assessment 2009, this allowance is extended to all business premises. Security control equipment which are eligible for the allowance are:

•
Anti-theft alarm system;
•

Infra-red motion detection system;

• Siren;
•

Access control system;

• Closed circuit television;
• Video surveillance system;
• Security camera;
• Wireless camera transmitter; and
•

Time lapse recording and video motion detection equipment.

Applications submitted to the IRB from the year of assessment 2009 to 2012 are eligible for this allowance.

(v) Incentive for Industrialised Building System

Industrial Building System (IBS) will enhance the quality of construction, create a safer and cleaner working environment as well as reduce the dependence on foreign workers. Companies which incur expenses on the purchase of moulds used in the production of IBS components are eligible for Accelerated Capital Allowances (ACA) for a period of three years.

Applications should be submitted to IRB.

(vi) Tax Exemption on the Value of Increased Exports

To promote exports, manufacturing companies in Malaysia qualify for:

•
A tax exemption on statutory income equivalent to 10% of the value of increased exports, provided that the goods exported attain at least 30% value-added; or
•

A tax exemption on statutory income equivalent to 15% of the value of increased exports, provided that the goods exported attain at least 50% value-added.

To further encourage the export of Malaysian goods, a locally-owned manufacturing company with Malaysian equity of at least 60% is eligible for:

•
A tax exemption on statutory income equivalent to 30% of the value of increased exports, provided the company achieves a significant increase in exports;
•

A tax exemption on statutory income equivalent to 50% of the value of increased exports, provided the company succeeds in penetrating new markets;

• A full tax exemption on the value of increased exports, provided the company achieves the highest increase in export in its category.

Claims should be submitted to IRB.

(vii) Group Relief

Group relief is provided under the Income Tax Act 1967 to all locally incorporated resident companies. Effective from the year of assessment 2009, group relief is increased from 50% to 70% of the current year's unabsorbed losses to be offset against the income of another company within the same group (including new companies undertaking activities in approved food production, forest plantation, biotechnology, nanotechnology, optics and photonics) subject to the following conditions:

a.
The claimant and the surrendering companies each has a paid-up capital of ordinary shares exceeding RM2.5 million;
b.

Both the claimant and the surrendering companies must have the same accounting period;

c.
The shareholding, whether direct or indirect, of the claimant and the surrendering companies in the group must not be less than 70%;
d.
The 70% shareholding must be on a continuous basis during the preceding year and the relevant year;
e.
Losses resulting from the acquisition of proprietary rights or a foreign-owned company should be disregarded for the purpose of group relief; and
f. Companies currently enjoying the following incentives are not eligible for group relief:
 

•

<DIV, style="TEXT-ALIGN: justify">Pioneer Status
 

•

Investment Tax Allowance/Investment Allowance
 

•

Reinvestment Allowance
 

•

Exemption of Shipping Profits
 

•

Exemption of Income Tax under section 127 of the Income Tax Act 1967; and
 

•

Incentive Investment Company

With the introduction of the above incentive, the existing group relief incentive for approved food production, forest plantation, biotechnology, nanotechnology, optics and photonics will be discontinued. However, companies granted group relief incentive for the above activities shall continue to offset their income against 100% of the losses incurred by their subsidiaries.

Claims should be submitted to the IRB.

SOURCED FROM MIDA

 

 
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