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Thursday, March 27, 2008


I have just had an infuriating day at the Customs Office...

So why was I there in the first place? Well my little company Axtra Synergy is liable for service tax this year under the new rulings. So we registered for the Service Tax License early January, and we literally received the notice for payment this week! And guess when the payment was due? Tomorrow...

But never mind that cause making the payment was not the real issue. The issue was how to make the payment. There were no instructions whatsoever on the documents that they sent. There were several forms in the pack, but we had no clue as to which bits of information were supposed to go where. We could only make smart guesses.

There was also no information on whom the cheque should be made out to...

(I only found out when I was at the Customs Office that the cheques should be made payable to Ketua Pengarah Kastam Negeri Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur - thankfully I have very small and neat handwriting which enabled me to fit the entire thing on the cheque albeit with some difficulty!)

Anyway I called their so called Hotline and this lady told me that I had better go to the Customs Office in Kelana Jaya asap cause if it's due tomorrow, i.e. 28th I had better not risk sending it by post. Why? Becaause if it arrives even if it arrives on time at the Customs Office but is late being sent to the payment counters (i.e. by their own internal mailing ppl) there will be a penalty. She also told me that I can go to the information counter and they will advise me how I should fill up the forms.

So we arrived at the Customs Office, and there were like a million people waiting. I went to what looked like the Information Counter - cause there was no information counter at the collections department - and the chap was not helpful at all. Just told me that I had to fill in the details and compute the 5% tax - like I didn't know that??? Except that the columns in the form had various definitions and I wasn't sure if I had to fill in the figures pre-tax or post-tax etc...

So anyway I just filled it in the best I could, and went to the payment counter when they finally called my ticket number. Told them I wasn't sure if it was done right. The lady looked at it - didn't say whether it was right or wrong, and then told me that I needed to submit 2 sets of declarations for Service Tax - 1 for the taxable period from 6 Jan - 29 Feb, and the other for the taxable period 1 Jan - 5 Jan.

I was like what??? Apparently this was because our license was only approved on the 6th Jan and therefore the official taxable period was 6 Jan to 29 Feb, but since we're liable for service tax from 1 Jan we had declare that too.

So then I told her that from 1 Jan to 29 Feb, we only had one invoice anyway dated 18 Feb. So I asked if I still needed to fill up a declaration for the first 5 days of the year??? And apparently I had to...

So I had to go away and fill up another form, and then when I went back to the counter - the lady who served me earlier (and was now standing by her chair) saw me but ignored me for a full 5 minutes and then walked away.

I stood there for a further 5 minutes before the person manning the next counter asked me what I wanted? I told her that the first lady had asked me to come back after filling up the second form which took me all of 2 minutes, but she had gone away. And apparently it was her lunch break???

I was about to lose my cool at this point. So why didn't she tell me she was going to lunch??? And how long was I supposed to stand there for??? Argh!

Anyway then the second lady decided to "process" my payment - well all she did was stamp my documents with full force that I was sure the table was going to give way. So anyway I stood there waiting for her to give me a receipt or something. But nothing happened.

After another 5 minutes she then asked me if I needed a receipt??? I could not believe she asked me that... If I am going to be penalised for not paying or for paying the damned service tax late wouldn't I definitely WANT a receipt???

So I said yes - to which she replied then I will have to wait. And when I asked how long? She said a FEW HOURS??? I mean how long can it take to print a receipt... I was fuming at this point. She realised that and then told me that she could post it to me... So I made her stamp some of my papers with an acknowledged receipt thing...and now I am just hoping for the best.

I have no idea how our stupid government offices work. They all seem to be either really stupid or they just can't be bothered to do their work properly.

Have any of you had any dealings with the Customs Office??? Is it really that bad or is it just my bad luck that I had idiots manning the counters today???

Am really hoping that with a stronger opposition in the Federal Government, things will improve! Argh!


zephyros said...

been there done that! i HAD to do it twice because i was picking my stuff up from the states after i graduated. second time was when i imported a paintball marker...first my stuff from the states...I waited a full 2 hours because the "inspector-inc-charge" was out for lunch and they have no one else that can do it...when he FINALLY comes back, he said he'll brt cause he need to go for a quick smoke...fine...another 30-45 mins later when he finally does show up...he walked me to my stuff, poked around signed a paper, and it was cleared for pick up all done in, less than 1 minute! OMG he coulda done that before he went out for lunch OMG.
Second time for my Paintball marker, I was at the customs office, these two custom officers checked my package out, then said I had to wait for someone higher up to check...about an hour later, when it's finally my turn, guess what, YES another < 1 min peek here peek there into my package, signs off and I was cleared with a RM38 documentation charge.....omg....which i had to wait for that secretary to type out a receipt for me that took her like almost 2 freaking hours to do.

Wandernut said...

Yes, I've had my share dealing with their laziness and incompetence too.

It's so disgusting how they just sit around wasting oxygen and still get their salaries.

Natasha Fernz said...

Hey there Zephyros...

Hmmm yes they're all idiots that get paid huge amounts for doing nothing!

I have no idea how these ppl can live with themselves... it is disgusting

Argh... am still fuming from wasting more than half my day there!

Katherine and Pippa said...

Hi Natasha
Sorry I had to laugh. It makes some of my feeble stories (on my blog not Pippa's) sound pathetic compared with your experience.
I freak out when I have to deal with Spanish bureaucracy (usually tax and bills) but it usually goes ok. It would be a nightmare to be in my own country and have a scenario like yours. I don't know how you kept your patience.

Amber-Mae said...

Wow, I'm sooo surprised that the government is still like 'budak kecil' after not getting many votes for the elections day. Shouldn't they by now, realize that Malaysians are not liking the government already??? Sigh...

Love licks,
Solid Gold Dancer

Natasha Fernz said...

Hi Kate

I think if I was in this same situation 5 years ago I would have literally been scolding everyone if not shouting!

But somehow I seemed to have "mellowed", and even when I am really angry I can still keep a pretty cool demeanor, though I do get very sarcastic...

having said that sarcasm in English is usually lost on the people in the govt offices here cause they just don't get it...


Yes I would have thought that all federal government agencies would buck up after being white washed in the recent elections... but obviously not.


Natasha Fernz said...

Yikes Zephyros!!!

I just re-read your comment, and I realised that you said your receipt was "typed" out and therefore it took two hours!

Gee maybe that's why the lady told me I had to wait a few hours for my receipt!!! Argh! How incompetent... esp since everything is supposed to be computerised in this day and age!