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Understanding tax reliefs in Malaysia

Updated 18 Nov 2019 – By Loanstreet

Knowing your tax relief can bring you substantial savings especially in the long run. Lets talk about some form of tax relief that are permitted by the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) (and not illegal) in this article.

Reducing Your Chargeable Personal Income Tax

The tables below shows some of the individual income tax relief you are eligible for.

Individual and Dependent Relatives

Reducing Your Chargeable Personal Income Tax- individual and dependent relatives


Reducing Your Chargeable Personal Income Tax- medical


Reducing Your Chargeable Personal Income Tax

Other ways of slashing tax payable

1. Compare tax payable between separate assessment and joint assessment

If your spouse is working and is also paying tax, you may want to compare your income tax payable under separate assessments or a joint assessment. You should choose the assessment that requires you to pay the least income tax (generally, separate assessments bring more tax savings). You can do so by using the e-filing calculators on LHDN’s website.

2. Get cash reimbursement instead of remuneration

Fixed monthly allowances provided by your employer are taxable subject to your tax bracket. However, you can receive the same amounts through reimbursements based on receipt, and this allows the amount received to be non-taxable.

3. Zakat and Fitrah

If you are a Muslim paying for zakat, fitrah or any forms of Islamic obligation, your tax rebate will be the amount you paid.

4. Go for tax-efficient investment (at your own risk)

  • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)

Diversify your investment portfolio by investing in REITs to enjoy income tax rate of 10%, which is significantly lower as compared to tax rate of 25% on normal share dividends.

  • Invest in overseas stocks with lower corporate income tax

Corporate income tax rate in some countries are lower (eg. 16.5% in Hong Kong compared to 25% in Malaysia), which means you save on income taxes. Once the income from overseas stocks is taxed in the origin country, it will be free from tax charges when transferred to the owner in Malaysia.


Utilizing tax reliefs can amount to substantial savings which you can utilize for other investments and purchases. Keeping up to date on the latest tax reforms will also keep you in the know to tweak the necessary strings to maximise full returns. Keep yourself updated year on year to make sure you don’t get left behind. Happy filing.

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