‘Why Buy Books On Taxation When They’re Soon Outdated?’

Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Overhead being said during a recent book sale: ‘Tax laws change every year. Why buy books on taxation when they’re soon outdated?’

Thank you sir, for your question. It just shows how ignorant you are of the importance of continuous learning and development. I wish you in advance, success in whatever future you may have. 

Well, I’m glad to hear that statement as it gives me a chance to rebut that kind of thinking, especially for a person who has an opportunity to express his thoughts through his blog, which has (I think) a band of followers :p

Firstly, the reason for us authors writing books is not to make money from its sales. If we were to rely solely on it, we would die of starvation. Just think about it; publishing a book costs us on average of RM15 per copy. If we sell 1,000 copies a year (if we can, I think that would make it among one of the best-selling books in Malaysia!) at an average of RM40, we will make only RM25,000 ((RM40 – RM15) x RM 25 margin – simple calculations that don’t require the services of an accountant!). Might as well focus my time and energy on my tax advisory business which can make me as much as that per JOB!

The primary reason for me writing my book is to SHARE my knowledge with the common man, so that he can avoid the common pitfalls of taxation. Like I always like to say, why leave unnecessary ‘tips’ in terms of taxation, to the government? We all work hard for our money and I believe we deserve to keep them, legally.

Secondly, contrary to your belief, annual changes in tax laws only affect less than 5% of the prevailing laws.  In addition, considering the changes affecting tax laws relating to property transactions in recent years, the major one relates only to changes in RPGT rates. The  principles behind the taxation of property transactions and the underlying strategies behind mitigating this exposure, remain UNCHANGED, save for some refinement in those strategies.

Thirdly, tax planning starts even before you enter into a business, or property transaction. If you are unaware of the consequences your action will lead you, how on earth are you going to mitigate your tax exposure? Consulting people like us when you intend to save tax when exiting that transaction, is too little too late.

Fourthly, if you are unaware of the strategies behind mitigating taxes on your property transactions, you’ll be ‘bleeding’ money through paying taxes unnecessarily every year. Methinks that will cost you more than buying a book annually! If that’s fine with you, that’s perfectly fine with me :)

Fifth, yes tax laws change every year, so you don’t want to invest some money in buying a book (which in your opinion, will soon be ‘outdated’).  If don’t plan to buy a book now, when are you ever going to start? Next year, the year after next, or ten years down the road, with your (naive) hopes that laws will stop changing then?

Sixth, yes, you may already have your own trusty tax accountant, who can advise you on your property taxation matters. But how often do you really keep in touch with your tax accountant? Are you certain he’s not going to (or already have) charge you for tax advice given? Looking again at point 3 above, do you remember to consult your tax accountant before you enter into a property transaction? Wouldn’t it be better if by reading my book, you are at least vaguely aware of your tax consequences and then by refering to my book, ask more specific questions to your tax accountant, pertaining to your property transaction? Please remember that we (tax accountants) do not possess a crystal ball and can never anticipate all your questions.

Lastly, I, as a tax consultant, really love and welcome people like you. Instead of learning how to help yourself first by investing in a book which costs you less than RM50, you prefer to come see people like me when you get into trouble. When that happens, we’ll be more than happy to help you, for a fee that will cost you at least 10 TIMES the cost of the book!

About Richard

Richard Oon Hock Chye has more than 25 years of experience in taxation and business advice, with particular expertise in Malaysian property law. He began his taxation career with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, a ‛Big Four’ accounting firm, before starting his own practice, ConsulNet Tax Services Sdn. Bhd., in 1996. He is currently the National Tax Director of TY Teoh International, one of the leading consulting service providers in Malaysia. It is a member of the MSI Global Alliance, a global network of more than 250 independent legal and accounting firms, in over 100 countries. Richard sits on the board of two companies listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia, as an independent non-executive director. He is also a regular contributor to several magazines and publications, and has shared his tax expertise on numerous occasions with organisations and property developers. As well as being a member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA), Richard is a fellow member of both the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Chartered Tax Institute of Malaysia (CTIM). He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and holds a tax agent licence issued by the Ministry of Finance. Richard is also the author of the book, ‘Every Property Investor’s Guide To How To Pay Less Tax Legally’.

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