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Be A Smart Consumer: What is GST?

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Come April 1st 2015, this seemingly foreign acronym GST will gradually be incorporated into our daily lives. We are soon living and breathing it and there is really no way to avoid it. In a nutshell, GST stands for Goods and Services Tax and it will be implemented to people and companies who provide goods such as restaurants, supermarkets, and wholesalers and companies who provide services like logistics, catering and retailers. As we move towards this new implementation, we find ourselves asking each other several common questions: Who will be affected? How major is the change? Who is entitled to GST? What can I do to manage?

 

Don’t fret about it, we are all in this change together. Let’s explore some of these qualms together and I hope we can sort some things out:

 

1. Who is entitled to GST?

 

The first thing we all need to know is who should be charging the extra 6% of GST. To be a smart consumer, we are now bequeathed with a new responsibility as a consumer to do our homework before we pay this 6% to a company or a restaurant. Take note that the minimum requirement for a corporation to be entitled to GST is an annual income of RM 500,000; so, if you suspect that someone is charging you unjustly, you can always check it over at http://gst.customs.gov.my/en/Pages/default.aspx. If they are not on the list, you have the right to both refuse the payment and to report them because they are directly taking advantage of the GST implementation and keeping the 6% for themselves. Do not be taken advantage of and be smart about who you are paying the money to!

 

2. Who will be affected by GST?

 

As aforementioned above, any company with an annual income of RM 500,000 is entitled to be GST complient; therefore, I believe many people are affected. However, to be specific, corporations like our grocers, pharmacies and restaurants will be some of the major places where GST will be felt most to us consumers. But bear in mind that there are some items that are tax-free like certain kinds of medicine; so, be sure to consult your pharmacists before purchasing to be sure!

 

3. How major is the change?

 

Personally, I believe that the change will definitely be major during its preliminary stage. We will probably experience a little frantic hype about it and scrutinizing our bills carefully but in time, it will come to us naturally. However, we can’t tell just how much prices will change and how big the leap is but personally, I am expecting a price hike in fresh goods and in dining places. So, that is something to look out for!

 

4. What can I do to manage?

 

GST is happening and it is happening really soon. What we can do to keep up and to manage is by doing ample research about it. Monetarily speaking, we need to start being more aware with the things we are buying and the things we are spending on. We have to start to be more strategic with the food that we buy and start finding ways to live around it and to live with it.

 

GST as it is right now sounds a little intimidating to everyone as we are still so unfamiliar with it but bear in mind that this is a system that will greatly help us improve our economy in the long run and this could potentially be very helpful in keeping businesses running fairly and cleanly. We can all benefit from this even as consumers but we must do our part and be smart about the decisions we make and to always be on our toes so no one can take advantage of us. Do your own necessary researches and don’t keep yourself in the dark.

 

Image: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ by https://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/

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