malaysiakiniLETTER | The Covid-19 pandemic created chaos for every one of us as many lost their jobs and some were forced to take pay cuts and even no-pay leave. To recuperate from the depression is going to be arduous for many of them. The government has recently lifted the conditional movement control order (MCO) for the recovery movement control order (RMCO). People are just coming out from their domains and starting to restructure and look into their livelihoods.

So another pressing issue which is on the table now and needs to be seriously attended to is the due date set by Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (LHDN) for the submission of the income tax return Form BE. Although LHDN has extended submission of the Form BE from May 15, 2020, to June 30, 2020, the situation is still beleaguered as many are still finding it difficult to make ends meet. It is going to be agony for the people with very little money in hand to come up with a payment to the LHDN in these trying times.

The moratorium and the discount under Bantuan Prihatin Elektrik (BPE) are coming in handy at this particular juncture. The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) is urging the LHDN to do the same by extending the due date for Form BE till the end of September. With this extension, the taxpayers will be able to start anew by focussing on their livelihoods such as looking for a job or jobs to substantiate their incomes.

The actual scenario of how badly the people were hit is clearly visible at queues at the pawnshops as soon as the MCO was lifted. There was also a lot of hue and cry over the electricity bills which were exorbitant. The Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) came up with a better solution to help the public. The LHDN should indeed follow the footsteps set by them.

Besides the extension, Fomca also feels that another alternative for LHDN to collect taxes is to come up with an instalment payment method. This method will, in fact, pose as a win-win situation as the agency will be able to collect the taxes while the taxpayers, on the other hand, will not feel the pinch of forking out a big chunk of their savings to pay the taxes. At the end of the day, the government coffers are safe within LHDN and the taxpayer will not go through mental stress as many of them are going through now. This will enable the people to recover financially.

Apart from that, LHDN should not penalise or impose a fine or penalty on late payment by taxpayers. Every single ringgit they can save can be utilised to buy essentials or save for the rainy day. There is no certainty in regards to our daily chores as the MCO might be imposed if the pandemic again goes beyond control. The government agencies must do their part in assisting the public at large when they need it most.

Fomca feels the LHDN with their inspiring motto "Together We Develop The Nation" should throw a lifeline to the taxpayers so that they can help to rebuild the nation as well. We hope LHDN will come up with some means and ways to help the taxpayers. As we have mentioned above, during this trying time, the LHDN should embark on a mission to help Malaysians who need a towing line to hold on to so that they can restart their livelihoods.

The writer is Fomca president.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.