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Friday, December 30, 2016

Reconsider taxing religious bodies’ incomes – KKCCCI

KOTA KINABALU - Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KKCCCI) president Datuk Michael Lui urged the government and Inland Revenue Board (IRB) to reconsider doing away with imposing tax on incomes derived from business activities run by religious bodies.

Lui said religious bodies would not have to rely too much on the government’s allocation if they could sustain themselves financially.

“The government should encourage religious groups to carry out activities which could generate funds in order for them to be self-sufficient,” Lui said when asked to comment on the amendment to the Income Tax Act 1967 so that religious bodies would be taxed for their incomes derived from businesses or rental.

Lui, who goes to Basel Christian Church of Malaysia (BCCM) in Tamparuli, said the Kota Kinabalu division of the church runs a bookstore at Lintas Square, selling Bible and Christian books.

“But the profit from the bookstore is not used to invest in other businesses. Instead, the profit is contributed back to the church.”

Besides, Lui said the definition of ‘business’ was very wide.

“Our church organizes bonanza where members of the public contribute their money to it. This is also considered a form of business,” he said, citing an example.

Lui said the IRB did not interfere with religious bodies in the past and he hoped that the Federal Government and IRB would reconsider the decision to impose tax on religious bodies’ incomes.

He said the religious bodies have always been non-profit organizations and the donations they received were often given back to the society.

Lui said the church committee’s duty, as a religious body, has always centered on charities.

“For instance, our church provides medical treatment in rural areas and donates to old folks’ home and children’s home.

“We do that several times a year, sometimes monthly,” he said, adding that the church also contributed its income towards education, disaster relief efforts and so on. - BP

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