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How to Determine Resident Status in Malaysia for Tax?
How to Determine Resident Status in Malaysia for Tax?

What you should know about determining resident status in MY

Danial avatar
Written by Danial
Updated over a week ago

The following are some frequently asked questions that we often encounter:

  1. What are the criteria used to determine tax residency status in Malaysia?

  2. How many days of physical presence are required in Malaysia to be considered a tax resident?

  3. Can you explain the rules for determining tax residency status for both individuals and companies in Malaysia?

Determining Your Tax Residency in Malaysia

Understanding your tax residency status is crucial when it comes to taxation in Malaysia. It determines how much tax you need to pay and on what income. The good news is that the process of determining your tax residency status is relatively straightforward. Here's a simple guide to help you figure it out.

Resident or Non-Resident: What's the Difference?

In Malaysia, you're either a tax resident or a non-resident. The key factor that decides this is how many days you spend in Malaysia during a calendar year, which, for tax purposes, runs from January 1st to December 31st.

  1. Resident: You're considered a tax resident if you stay in Malaysia for at least 182 days during a calendar year. It doesn't have to be 182 consecutive days; they can be spread out throughout the year.

  2. Non-Resident: If you spend fewer than 182 days in Malaysia during a calendar year, you're considered a non-resident for tax purposes.

Below are a few other factors/rules to consider when you are determining your tax residency status:

1) What About Intention?

Sometimes, your intention matters too. Even if you're in Malaysia for less than 182 days, if you can prove that you intended to live in Malaysia for more than 182 days in that year, you could still be considered a tax resident.

2) Year of Arrival and Departure: A Prorated Rule

In the year you arrive in Malaysia, the 182-day rule is prorated. This means if you arrive halfway through the year, you don't need to stay for a full 182 days to be considered a resident for tax purposes.

3) Work Matters: Employment Status

If you're employed in Malaysia for 182 days or more during a calendar year, you're generally considered a tax resident. Your employment status can play a significant role in determining your tax residency.

4) Secondary Test - Place of Residence:

In some cases, if you don't meet the 182-day rule, tax authorities might look at where your center of vital interests (basically, where you spend most of your time) is to determine your tax residency.

Why It Matters: Tax Rates and Income

Your tax residency status is more than just a label. It affects how much tax you pay and on what income. Residents in Malaysia are taxed on their worldwide income, while non-residents are usually only taxed on income earned within Malaysia.

Some Things to Note

Keep Good Records

To make sure you get your tax residency right, it's crucial to keep good records. Save things like entry and exit stamps in your passport, travel itineraries, and any other relevant documents. They can be handy if you ever need to prove your tax residency.

Stay Updated and Seek Professional Advice

While this guide gives you a good starting point, tax laws can change, and individual situations can be unique. It's a good idea to stay updated on tax regulations by referring to the latest guidelines from the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) and consider seeking advice from tax professionals for personalized guidance.

In the end, understanding your tax residency status is a crucial step in managing your finances and ensuring you fulfill your tax obligations in Malaysia.


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