Sunday, April 5, 2015

Tour and travel agencies unable to do business over the last three days


KUALA LUMPUR: The tour and travel industry is upset with the implementation of the GST because they say they are getting contradictory comments from the Customs Departments and some issues they had raised are still pending until now.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Hamzah Rahmat said the travel industry was unique and complex with different components and many parties involved.
“Don’t get me wrong. We are in favour of the GST but right now we are getting contradictory comments from the airlines, from our suppliers so everyone is at a loss. The Customs Department tells the airlines one thing and the travel industry something else,” he said, adding that his phone was ringing non-stop as travel agencies seek answers and clarity but there are none to give.
He said this was badly affecting the travel industry with most agencies unable to do business over the last three days because they were busy looking into the GST problems.
He said amid the confusion, one foreign airline had started charging the 6% GST for international flights which are not liable for GST.
Only domestic flights are liable for the GST but it is levied on the airport tax charged for the passenger.
He said the Customs Department should implement the GST sectorally so that they can properly understand the issues and complexities of each industry adding that MATTA’a last engagement with the Customs Department was two weeks ago where they received some answers.
“But they couldn’t answer all our questions because they have to study the whole things all over again because it is not straightforward when it comes to the documentation aspect, so none of the software is 100% GST compliant for the industry because of the updates.
“The Government should have given us leeway of three months. If the Customs doesn’t listen to the industry, they’ll get ‘rubbish reporting’ at the end of the day,” he said.
Japan Airlines accounts supervisor Adrian Cho had gone several times to the GST headquarters for answers on some peculiarities.
He said the airlines needed to collect GST for the airport tax on behalf of Malaysia Airports Bhd “but we are collecting it on behalf of somebody and it is not our revenue. Do we have to report it?”
“The airline industry is quite unique and there are a lot of grey areas including pre-paid tickets bought before April,” he said.
“We are selling tickets everyday. What if we’re not charging the customer correctly? Will we be fined?” he asked, saying Customs should have implemented the GST sector by sector so that problems could be sorted out promptly.
-thestar online.

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