Let’s get this straight, we love filling our taxes every year in the hopes of getting a tax return. Refunds are the best gift to self. That being said, 2021 hasn’t been the easiest year, still, we do rely on tax deductions, tax reliefs and tax rebates that you can claim to reduce your aggregate income, chargeable income, and amount of tax charged respectively.
This is why we’re all here today, so in the spirit of getting a tax refund, let’s break down everything you can and should claim for the income tax year of assessment 2020.
1. Education (self)
claim allowed: Up to RM7,000
Claim for fees expended on any course of study undertaken in a recognised institution or professional body in Malaysia. Take a quick look at the recognised list of studies at the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia’s website. This doesn’t apply to Masters or Doctorate degrees, those are free for all.
For other tertiary level education undertaken for law, accounting, Islamic finance, technical, vocational, industrial, scientific or technological skills or qualifications will be eligible.
2. Self, Parents and Spouses
- Automatic Individual Relief
Claim allowed: Up to RM9,000
Granted automatically to an individual for themselves and their dependents.
- Medical Expenses for Parents
Claim allowed: ≤ RM5,000 or RM1,500 for one parent and RM1,500 for the other
This includes medical treatment, special needs and caregiving expenses for ageing or sick parents who are your dependents. To claim this, there must be evidence by a registered medical professional, or written certification from a qualified carer. Your parents must reside here in Malaysia and their treatments must be conducted locally for you to claim this.
The other side of this claim is for parents for who you do not claim medical treatment. They have to be over the age of 60, with each of them earning an annual income of less than RM24,000 for that year of assessment. The allowed relief is RM1,500 for each parent who meets these requirements. Remember that they have to be your legitimate parent or legally adoptive parent (stepparents are not included).
Claim allowed: ≤ RM4,000You can claim this relief if your spouse has no source of income or elects for a joint assessment in your name. This also includes any income from outside of Malaysia, they have to be dependent on you for this claim to be made. In the case of alimony paid to a former wife, the deduction is allowed for the amount of alimony paid or up to a limit of RM4,000. Only formal alimony agreements are allowed for this tax relief.
3. Medical (self)
Claim allowed: ≤RM6,000
Medical expenses for serious diseases pertaining to yourself, your spouse, child and/or fertility treatment for yourself or your spouse.
The claim Includes treatment of AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, renal failure, leukaemia, heart attack, pulmonary hypertension, chronic liver disease, fulminant viral hepatitis, head trauma with neurological deficit, tumour in the brain or vascular malformation, major burns, major organ transplant, and major amputation of limbs.
Be sure to get a receipt of the treatment and certification by a registered medical practitioner must be kept for future reference.
For your spouse:
The claim includes Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) treatment, In vitro fertilization (IVF), or any other fertility treatments on yourself or your spouse, including consultation fees and medicines. The claim must be evidenced by a receipt and certification issued by a registered medical practitioner and is eligible to married individuals only.
Complete medical examination for yourself, spouse, or child:
Refers to any medical examination as defined by the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC).
4. Lifestyle (self)
Personal expenses claim
Claim allowed: Up to RM2,500 for self, spouse, or child. For each benefit.
The single person’s favourite category under the topic of Tax Reliefs. In this category, you can claim for the purchase of:
- Laptops, personal computers, smartphones or tablets. Please note that is for personal equipment only, additional charges for warranty or devices used for your businesses is excluded.
- Sports equipment for sports activities defined under the Sports Development Act 1997, including golf balls and shuttlecocks, and payment for gym memberships. Motorised equipment, bicycles, treadmills and club memberships that provide the use of gym facilities are excluded in this claim.
- Books, magazines, journals and other similar publications both in hard copy and electronic forms (for all the kindle users). The claim is not valid for any banned and/or offensive materials.
- Internet subscriptions paid through monthly bill registered in your own name.
Claim allowed: Up to RM2,500 for yourself, your spouse and child.
Coming to you this year is the additional lifestyle relief. A recent addition for the year of assessment 2020 where you can make another claim of up to RM2,500 for the purchase of laptops, personal computers, smartphones and tablets. This claim is limited to purchases made between the 1st of June 2020 and the 31st of December 2020.
Remember this is an additional claim, so for example, if you bought yourself a new smartphone in 2020, you can make a claim for the first benefit. Then in the period stipulated, you purchased a tablet for your child, maybe for an online school, you can make a second claim for that second device.
The same rules apply, you cannot make a tax claim for devices purchased for business purposes, nor does it extend to additional charges for warranty.
Tourism in Malaysia from 1st of March 2020
Claim allowed: Up to RM1,000
Sooo, for those of you who went on a visit Malaysia tour sometime last year after covid hit, here’s a chance for you to make some money back. This means you can claim expenses spent on tourist accommodation charges and entrance fees to tourist attractions for individuals. Payment for this vacation needs to have been made between the 1st of March and 31st of December 2020 to qualify for this tax relief.
Another rule to follow is that your accommodation must be registered with the Commissioner of Tourism. Click this link here to check if the hotel you were in is registered.
- Breastfeeding equipment
Claim allowed: ≤ RM1,000 per mother allowed once every 2 years.
Enjoy a tax relief on any personally purchased breastfeeding equipment for your personal use to breastfeed your child of fewer than 2 years of age. The product that you can make this claim for includes, breast pump kit and ice pack, breast milk collection and storage equipment; and cooler set or cooler bags.
- Childcare fees
Claim allowed: ≤ RM 3,000
If you are a married couple assessed separately, only one parent can make this tax claim. This tax relief is allowed for childcare fees for children aged 6 and under registered with a childcare centre or kindergarten. You may only make this claim once regardless of the number of children you have. Previously at RM 1,000, this relief was adjusted to RM 3,000 as part of the Covid-19 pandemic aid.
- Net Deposit for SSPN
Claim allowed: ≤ RM 8,000Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Nasional (SSPN) or the National Educations Savings Scheme is a savings plan from PTPTN that enables parents to invest in their children’s higher education. Claims for this benefit is for the net deposit in SSPN up to the claim limit of your total deposit for the year 2020.
- Child Relief
Claim allowed: RM 2,000 per child
A little relief for every child who is unmarried and below the age of 18 during the year of assessment.
- Child (18+) in full-time education
(A-levels, Australian Matriculation, etc.)
Claim allowed: RM2,000 per child
If you are looking after a child over the age of 18, who is studying but not quite in university. You are allowed to claim a total of RM 2,000 per child.
- Child (18+) in tertiary education
Claim allowed: ≤ RM 8,000 per child
For your children who are currently unmarried, unemployed and are pursuing a tertiary education under your care. They must be:
- Pursuing a full-time education at an educational institution in Malaysia
- Serving under articles or indentures to qualify in a trade or profession in Malaysia
- Pursuing a full-time degree (or equivalent, including Masters or Doctorate) outside Malaysia
6. Insurance and Investments
- Life Insurance and EPF for Public Servants.
Claim allowed: up to RM 7,000 for life insurance for pensionable public servants; Up to RM 3,000 for life insurance and up to RM 4,000 for EPF of non-public servants.If you have purchased and are paying for life insurance on your own life and your spouse then you’d be eligible to make a claim under this relief. The same goes for contributions to approved schemes like the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).|
- Deferred annuity and Private Retirement Schemes (PRS)
Claim allowed: Up to RM 3,000
For both individuals and their spouse who has a source of income, the total deduction is RM 3,000 each. However, if you have elected for a joint assessment, the deduction is limited to RM 3,000 for both of you.
- Education and Medical Insurance
Claim allowed: Up to RM 3,000 for yourself, spouse or child
Any insurance for the education and/or medical benefits of yourself, spouse or child garners a total deduction of RM 3,000 under this relief. If you and your spouse have elected to a joint assessment, the total deduction for both of you is RM 3,000, if not, then it can be claimed separately.
Claim allowed: up to RM 250Your contributions to SOCSO/PERKESO (the Social Security Organisation) can be claimed as relief under this benefit. Where is this contribution you ask? Check your payslip, there is usually a contribution right after EPF.
7. Relief for Disabled Persons
- Purchase of equipment for disabled self, spouse, child or parent
Claim allowed: Up to RM 6,000 for self, spouse, child or parentIf you have any expenses incurred from the purchase of basic needs such as the equipment used by yourself, spouse, child or parent, this is the claim for you. Take note, that the individual needs to have been registered with the Department of Social Welfare as a disabled person for the expenditure to qualify. Basic supporting equipment includes wheelchairs artificial limbs, hearing aids and haemodialysis machines. Equipment excluded are spectacles and optical lenses.
- Disabled Individual
Claim allowed: RM 6,000
If you are a disabled individual certified in writing with the Department of Social Welfare, then you are eligible for a further deduction under this relief.
- Disabled spouse
Claim allowed: RM 3,500
For those of you with a disabled husband or wife, you are entitled to another deduction under this relief. Of course, meeting the parameters of the Department of Social Welfare.
- Disabled child
Claim allowed: RM 6,000
Just as with your spouse, if you have a disabled child, unmarried and in your care, you are entitled to this deduction under the relief as well.
- Disabled child in tertiary education
Claim allowed: RM 8,000
This is a secondary benefit that you can only claim if your disabled child is unmarried, under your care, over the age of 18 and pursuing higher education under the following conditions;
- In full-time education at an educational establishment in Malaysia (excluding A-levels, pre-university, and matriculation)
- Pursuing a full-time degree or equivalent outside of Malaysia (including a Masters or Doctorate)
- Serving under articles of indentures to qualify in a trade or profession in Malaysia.
To reduce the amount of your aggregate income, the sum of your total income for the year, enter in tax deductions. When filing your income tax for the year of assessment 2020 (Year 2021) you can deduct the following contributions from your aggregate income.
- Donations; to charities, sports bodies and other approved projects.
Deduction allowed: Up to 10% of aggregate incomeAny donation that falls under any of these categories is restricted to 10% of your aggregate income.
- Gifting of money to approved institutions/organisations/funds
- Gifting of money for any approved sports activity
- Gifting of money or absorption of cost or contribution in kind for any approved project of national interest
- Gifting of money in the form of wakaf to religious authorities or public universities or endowment to public universities
- Other such donations, gifts, and contributions
Deduction allowed: Up to value of gift unless otherwise statedWhat type of donations are we talking about here? Check out the list below;
- Gifting of money to the government/state government/local authority
- Gifting of artefacts, manuscripts, or paintings
- Gifting of money not exceeding RM20,000 for libraries
- Gifting of money or contribution in kind for disability facilities in public places
- Gifting of money or medical equipment not exceeding RM20,000 to approved healthcare facilities
- Gifting of paintings to the National Art Gallery or state art galleries
Donations under these categories are not subject to the earlier 10% limit, but up to the value of the gift unless otherwise stated.
- Subscriptions to other professional bodies.
Deduction allowed: Membership subscription paidCertain professions, lawyers, doctors and such do often subscribe to paid professional bodies, clubs if you will. The subscription paid to these bodies can be claimed as a deduction.
The thing we’ve all been waiting for. Income tax rebates are what is calculated at the end section of your BE form. Once you have filed all the relevant tax amounts charged on your chargeable income. A calculation is done to determine if you have tax to pay or are indeed eligible for a rebate. A tax rebate reduces your amount of tax charged, there are currently four types of tax rebates for income tax Malaysia YA 2020.
Tax rebate for Self
Rebate amount: RM400
If your chargeable income does not exceed RM 35,000 after the tax reliefs and deductions. You will be granted a rebate of RM400.
Tax rebate for Spouse (husband or wife)
Rebate amount: RM400
Let’s do a refresher if you and your spouse choose to conduct a joint assessment due to one of you not having an income, only then would you be able to consider this rebate. To be eligible, your chargeable income cannot exceed RM 35,000.
Departure levy rebate for umrah or religious travel
Rebate amount: The amount of departure levy paid, limited to 2 trips per lifetime
To anyone who leaves Malaysia by air to perform umrah or other kinds of religious pilgrimage excluding the pilgrimage for Hajj. You will need a copy of the visa issued by Saudi Arabia for the umrah and a written verification by a recognised religious body, as evidence to use this claim.
Rebate amount: Zakat/fitrah paid
This is a rebate applied to the payment of obligatory zakat and fitrah during the year of assessment.
Take full advantage of your Tax Refund
The most important thing to note is that to maximise your tax refund you need to claim your tax incentives wherever you can, reducing how much you have to give up in taxes on your income. So get your filing in order and claim what is rightfully yours.
For a guide on how to set up your account and file your taxes online check out our article Income Tax Malaysia: A Definitive Guide.
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