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GST for duty-free items

  • Duty-free shops in Kedah and Perlis received the notification from the state customs departments on the implementation of GST only ten to 15 days later. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

KANGAR, ALOR SETAR, Feb 20 (Sin Chew Daily) -- Beginning January 1 this year, all duty-free shops in the country are no longer exempted from GST.

Duty-free shops in Kedah and Perlis nevertheless received the notification from the customs departments of the respective states only ten to 15 days later.

Sin Chew Daily visited the duty-free shops in the two states and discovered that GST had already been included in the selling prices of liquors and tobacco products.

Border residents and tour operators are already aware of the GST, but foreign tourists are largely unaware of this.

Some of the shops we visited did not specify the inclusion of GST for their alcohol and tobacco products, although their GST registration numbers were displayed and the items were categorized on the bills as "zero-rated" due to lack of time to adjust the GST-included selling prices as well their cash register systems.

Late notification

The late notification from the authorities makes it difficult for duty-free shop operators to instantly update their systems to include GST in the selling prices. As a result, they have to bear the GST themselves.

An employee at Warisan Limpahan duty-free shop at Padang Besar told Sin Chew Daily their duty-free outlet at Bukit Kaya Hitam received the customs department's notification on January 10, but the Padang Besar outlet had not received any notification on GST implementation.

He said the two outlets immediately adjusted the accounting system following clarification with the Kedah customs department on the following day. Prices of duty-free items sold at both outlets have been adjusted to include GST from January 12.

"However, we are unable to get back the GST for the first 11 days of the month, and have to absorb it ourselves."

When approached, a customer said he was not sure of the GST for duty-free items. He nevertheless said the items were still much cheaper than elsewhere and the GST implementation therefore did not matter to him.



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