October 21, 2009

My Budget 2010 wish

This year's Budget Day, which always fall on Friday in Malaysia, is a bit weird. People seem to be uncaring that it will be tabled and there seem to be little coverage on what the man on the street could expect from the government of the day. People seem to put more emphasise (too much?) on the need for powerful but cheaper broadband. I know it is quite important nowadays for people to have high speed internet but of all the issues to solve, is that the only thing that we need to concentrate on?

I think corporate tax and how lawyers are tax is still the bane of my business existence. There is no such thing as a pioneer status for lawyers, no matter how small a legal firm you are. All are tax like any other business that offer service. We are expected to pay our taxes the moment we issue a bill like all other business. We have been given some leeway until next year to get our act together as many lawyers have been paying tax only when they received payments from their clients and not when they billed them.

I know some will go "What?" hearing that we have been paying taxes the wrong way since forever but lawyers themselves needed nearly 5 years to understand that we did it wrong. They rarely get their money upfront especially when dealing with corporate clients. Our clients will always asked for the bill and then they promise us they will pay us Tuesday (to borrow a Popeye phrase). As most lawyers love these corporate clients that all those other 'retail' clients, we let them step on our head and after 6 months to one year, we will be wondering why we have a big dent in our wallet. Our attitude is then are also extended to how we pay our tax.

So, now we starts to feel the burden of paying tax. Of the millions that we billed, only hundreds thousands are paid (not my one firm but all firms) and when we need to pay according to the millions, we were flabbergasted at the sheer amount of it. Now, we realised why people are angry when wastage happens in government day after day.

As such, that is why my wish is for cheaper corporate tax which they say may not be forthcoming as the Malaysian government is running a very high deposit nearly 7%. Maybe that internet thingy is a better deal as I can at least air my grouses on the internet....

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