Over time, we will get used to the GST

A HUNDRED days are different things to different people. Depending on the context and who you ask, it can range from a seemingly endless period of pain to a sequence of sweet moments that passes too soon.

But it is safe to say that there is no such broad spectrum of sentiments about the 102 days since the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was ­introduced on April 1.

For one thing, nobody enjoys paying taxes.

So at best, there is perhaps an indifference among the country’s wealthiest, who may report that the 6% GST has not changed how they spend.

Most Malaysians, on the other hand, surely feel the impact of the consumption tax.

A lot of the pre-GST jitters had been overblown, but it has not been a comfortable and smooth 100 days either.

As expected, there have been teething problems and tough ­lessons.

Remember the flap over the GST and service charge collected by restaurants?

That made us scrutinise the rationale for the service charge, which many of us had paid in the past without question.

Business owners have complained that the authorities were coming down hard on GST-related offences when there should be some leeway to allow businesses to adjust to the complex tax ­system.

Another worry is that the late refund of the GST is affecting the cash flow of businesses.

These, plus a flow of technical issues, are keeping the Customs Department busy.

The good thing is the resolutions are within sight.

What is trickier to deal with is the perception among the people that they are poorer now after the ­imposition of the Goods and Services Tax.

It has been pointed out ­constantly that the GST is not so much a new burden, but a more transparent and efficient replacement for the sales tax and the service tax.

The logic is sound, but it is not strong enough a counterpoint to the emotional effect of seeing how much GST we bear each time we pay for something.

In May, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Budget 2016 would include details of the revenue from the GST and “what had been given back to the economy”.

Over time, we will get used to having the GST in our lives.

Maybe it will take another 100 days.

Or maybe the process will be longer.

But definitely, it helps a lot if we are assured that the tax benefits the country as intended.

Via : TheStar

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