Is a bank guarantee fee tax deductible?
Is a bank guarantee fee tax deductible?

Latest Update Tax Deductible of Bank Guarantee Fee

Persatuan Nelayan Kebangsaan

The Court of Appeal has recently determined that Bank Guarantee fees qualify as tax deductible under Section 33(1) of the Income Tax Act 1967.

The taxpayer, a society founded by the Agriculture Ministry, is principally engaged in providing subsidised diesel to fishermen. In facilitating this mission, the society has entered into contracts with Shell and PETRONAS to secure a consistent diesel supply. The society, in turn, markets this diesel to the fishing community.

In adhering to the terms of a 30-day credit period established by the suppliers, the society sought a Bank Guarantee, periodically renewed, to assure payment to its suppliers. The associated fees paid to the bank were deducted by the society as a business expense for income tax purposes.

Capital in Nature - SC & HC

The Revenue contested this deduction, categorizing the Bank Guarantee fees as capital expenditure rather than a direct expense for purchasing diesel. The High Court sustained the Revenue’s position.

The Court of Appeal

Upon appeal to the Court of Appeal, the society's objection was accepted.

The court highlighted that in the absence of the bank guarantee, the society would need to explore alternative financing methods, such as taking out a loan to purchase the diesel. The court further noted that such a loan would inevitably involve interest, which the Revenue would have permitted as a deductible expense.

As such, the Court of Appeal found no substantive difference between utilizing a bank guarantee or a loan to facilitate diesel acquisition.

Case Summary

A brief summary of the case details:

a. The Taxpayer procured diesel supplies from Shell Malaysia Trading and Petronas Perdagangan Berhad (“Suppliers”).

b. Per the agreement with the Suppliers, the Taxpayer needed to secure a bank guarantee before initiating the agreement.

c. Thus, the Taxpayer obtained a bank guarantee from Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad, incurring a bank guarantee fee in the process.

d. Following a tax audit by the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (“IRB”), a notice of additional assessment disallowing said bank guarantee fee was issued.

e. Dissatisfied with this decision, the Taxpayer appealed to the Special Commissioners of Income Tax (“SCIT”), who ruled in the Taxpayer’s favor.

f. The IRB subsequently appealed against the SCIT’s verdict to the High Court.

H. The Taxpayer appealed to the Court of Appeal.

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Published : 14-Aug-2023

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