Sales Tax

Effective date and scope of taxation

Sales tax is a single-stage tax imposed on taxable goods manufactured locally by a registered manufacturer, and on taxable goods imported by any person.

The term “manufacture” in relation to goods other than petroleum, means the conversion by manual or mechanical means of organic or inorganic materials into a new product by changing the size, shape, composition, nature or quality of such materials and includes the assembly of parts into pieces of machinery or other products but does not include the installation of machinery or equipment for the purpose of construction. In relation to petroleum, the term “manufacture” means the process of refining that includes the separation, conversion, purification and blending of refinery streams or petrochemical streams.

Special treatment is given to transactions involving Designated Areas (Labuan, Langkawi, Tioman and Pangkor) and Special Areas (free zones, licensed warehouses, licensed manufacturing warehouses and the Joint Development Area).


Rates of tax

Sales tax is generally an ad valorem tax. Specific rates of sales tax are currently only imposed on certain classes of petroleum (generally, refined petroleum). The ad valorem rates are as follows:

Class of goods


Fruit juices, certain foodstuff, building materials, personal computers, telephone, watches and car safety seats for infant and young children


All other goods, except petroleum subject to specific rates and goods not specifically exempted



Taxable goods

All goods manufactured in Malaysia by registered manufacturers or imported by any person are taxable unless they are specifically exempted by order of the Minister of Finance.


Goods exempted

All goods manufactured for export are exempted from sales tax.

Other goods which are specifically exempted include:

  • Live animals, fish, seafood and certain essential food items including meat, milk, eggs, vegetables, fruits, bread.
  • Books, magazines, newspapers, journals and periodicals.
  • Bicycles including certain parts and accessories.
  • Naturally occurring mineral substances, chemicals, etc.
  • Pharmaceutical products such as medicine, medical cream, cough syrup, bandage, medicaments containing multivitamin & minerals, etc
  • Fertilisers (animal origin or chemical) and insecticides.
  • Articles of goldsmith such as gold or platinum jewellery, silver tableware, etc.

A complete list of goods exempted from sales tax can be found in the Sales Tax (Goods Exempted From Tax) Order 2018.



A taxable person is a manufacturer who is registered or liable to be registered for sales tax. A manufacturer is liable to be registered if the total sales value of his taxable goods for a 12-month period exceeds or is expected to exceed RM500,000.


Exemption from registration

Certain manufacturing activities are exempted from the registration requirement. They include the developing and printing of photographs and production of film slides, manufacture of ready mixed concrete, preparation of meals, repair of second hand or used goods and the installation of air conditioners in motor vehicles.


Voluntary registration

Any manufacturer who is not liable to be registered for sales tax or exempted from registration may apply to the Director General (DG) of Customs for registration as a registered manufacturer. The DG of Customs may approve the registration to be effective from a date he determines and subject to conditions he deems fit.


Tax-free raw materials

In order to maintain the single-stage concept, there are facilities available to allow for inputs (raw materials and components) to be imported or acquired free of sales tax by a registered manufacturer for use in the manufacturing process.



A person may apply to the DG of Customs to claim drawback on the sales tax paid in respect of imported or locally acquired goods which are subsequently exported.


Approved Major Exporter Scheme

The Approved Major Exporter Scheme was introduced for traders and manufacturers whose annual sales exceed RM10 million and who export at least 80% of their annual sales. Such approved traders and manufacturers are granted full sales tax exemption on their importation or purchase of goods. Traders and manufacturers who fulfill all the prescribed conditions can apply to the DG of Customs for approval under this scheme.


Sales tax deduction

Registered manufacturers are able to apply to the DG of Customs for the following amount of sales tax deduction on the taxable raw materials, components or packaging materials acquired from local traders and used solely in the manufacturing of their taxable goods.

  • 2% of the total value of taxable goods purchased if the taxable goods were charged and levied with sales tax of 5%
  • 4% of the total value of taxable goods purchased if the taxable goods were charged and levied with sales tax of 10%


Payment of sales tax and taxable period

Sales tax is due at the time the taxable goods are sold, disposed of otherwise than by sale, or first used otherwise than as materials in the manufacture of taxable goods, by the taxable person. However, in relation to the classes of petroleum that are subject to sales tax, special provisions apply regarding the time when sales tax is due.

Any sales tax that falls due during a taxable period, is payable to the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (RMCD) latest by the last day of the month following the end of the taxable period. A taxable period is a period of 2 calendar months, however, a taxable person can apply to the DG of Customs to vary the taxable period. If the application to vary the taxable period is approved, the sales tax due is payable to RMCD latest by 30 days from the end of the varied taxable period.


Refund of sales tax on bad debts

A registered manufacturer or a person who has ceased to be a registered manufacturer can apply for a refund of sales tax in relation to bad debts. The conditions for the refund application are that:

  • the whole or part of the sales tax paid has been written off as a bad debt; and
  • all reasonable efforts have been made by the applicant to recover the sales tax.


Sales tax on imported low value goods

It was proposed in Budget 2022 that effective from 1 January 2023, low value goods (LVG), i.e. goods which have a sale value of not more than RM500, imported into Malaysia using air courier service through the prescribed international airports will no longer enjoy sales tax exemption. The legislation to impose sales tax on imported LVG has been passed in Parliament but the implementation date has yet to be fixed.

The details on the imposition of sales tax on LVG that have been communicated are as follows:

  • Tax rate: A flat rate of 10%

  • Registration: Both local and foreign sellers of LVG on any online marketplace as well as operators of online marketplace are required to register for sales tax and charge sales tax on LVG if their total sale value for a 12-month period exceeds the registration threshold of RM500,000.

  • Calculation of sales tax: The sale value used in the calculation of sales tax shall exclude any tax, fee or other charges imposed on the imported LVG.

  • Sales tax due: Sales tax on LVG is due when the LVG are sold by the seller.

  • Taxable period and furnishing of return: The taxable period for a registered LVG seller is 3 months and the returns must be furnished to customs by the last day of the month following the end of the taxable period.

  • Customs control: Customs can withhold the LVG if it appears that sales tax has not been charged, insufficiently charged or paid. The LVG can only be released after the correct amount of sales tax on the LVG has been paid in full.

  • Transitional: LVG which are purchased before the effective date of imposition of sales tax on LVG are not subject to sales tax even if the LVG are delivered to Malaysia after the effective date.

Specific exemption on Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products

It is proposed that sales tax on importation of nicotine gum and nicotine patch products be exempted for a period of 5 year (i.e. from 1 January 2023 until 31 December 2027).

Specific exemption on studio and film production equipment

It is proposed that sales tax on studio and filming production equipment be exempted and to be given to providers of equipment and production services including post-production, studio and cinema for a period of 2 years.

Specific exemption on individually owned taxis and hired cars 

It is proposed that effective 1 January 2023, full sales tax exemption on sale / transfer / private use / disposal of individually owned taxis and hired cars will be extended to (a) executive taxi and Teksi 1 Malaysia (“TEKS1M”) and (b) airport taxis (budget, premier and family). The vehicle must have been held for at least 5 years from the registration date. 

Specific exemption on Carbon Capture and Storage (“CCS”)

It is proposed that companies undertaking CCS in-house activities or CCS services will be given sales tax exemption on equipment for CCS technology for application received by the Ministry of Finance from 1 January 2023 until 31 December 2027.

Specific exemption for locally assembled bus

Currently, sales tax exemption of 10% on the purchase of buses including locally installed air conditioning is given to eligible bus operators such as school bus, stage bus, express bus, excursion bus and employee bus. The sales tax exemption is effective from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2022. It is proposed that the exemption be extended for another 2 years from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2024. 

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PwC Malaysia

General enquiries, PwC Malaysia

Tel: +60 (3) 2173 1188

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