Once again, it is the season of filing our taxes for income earned in 2022. So, for those who work as an employee and do not own a business, the deadline to file income tax is set on 30 April 2023. Meanwhile, if you run a business, you would need to file in your income tax by 30 June 2023. 


Here, let’s talk about tax residency in Malaysia. 


For most Malaysians, there is no issue with tax residency status. If we had lived, worked and hung around in Malaysia for most parts of 2022 (> 182 days), in our case, we are automatically Malaysian tax residents. But as you read, what if you are an expatriate (different nationalities)? Well, if you are a foreigner, who lived and worked in Malaysia for more than 182 days in 2022, you would be qualified as a Malaysian tax resident. 


Such a status will entitle you to: 

1. Lower income tax as it is on a scale rate (0%-30%), not a flat rate of 30%. 

2. Tax reliefs and exemptions.


Do note this. Tax residency status is not the same as nationality. For instance, in the case of KC Lau, he is a Malaysian citizen but not a Malaysian tax resident. As I write, such status is common as the society is more globalised. Closer to home here, there are many Malaysians today who live and work in Singapore. Thus, in their cases, they are Malaysian citizens but are tax residents in Singapore. 


Now, what if you (Malaysian or foreigner) didn’t stay and work in Malaysia for a period of more than 182 days?


Does it mean that you are not a Malaysian tax resident? 


Not really. There are 3 more ways that you might qualify as a tax resident. Here, I’ll explain them in brief and they are as follows:


1. The Link Year

There are 2 scenarios. 

First, you are a Malaysian tax resident in 2021. But in 2022, you’ve left Malaysia and moved into a new country for work. So in your passport, you have stayed in Malaysia for, let’s say, 60 days. In his case, as long as his days in Malaysia for the year 2022 can be linked to at least 182 days in 2021, he is a tax resident in 2022 in Malaysia.


Second, you’d arrived in Malaysia at the end-2022. You’d worked in Malaysia for more than 182 days in 2023. Hence, you’ll be a tax resident in 2022 and 2023 in Malaysia as the days in 2022 can be linked to the 182 days in 2023. 


Next, the question is: ‘What if your days in 2022 could not be linked to both last and following year?’ If that is your case, let’s move onto: 


2. The 90-Day Rule

This is applicable to you (Malaysian or foreigner) if you stayed in Malaysia for at least 90 days and are a Malaysian tax resident in 3 out of 4 years (2018-2021). 


Now, the question is: ‘What if I’m totally not in Malaysia throughout 2022?’. Am I officially not a tax resident in Malaysia? Well, the answer is not quite. Here as I write, there is still one more way that you could be a tax resident in Malaysia. 


3. The Missing Year

If you are a tax resident in 2019-2021 and in 2023, even if you are physically not present at all in Malaysia throughout 2022, you’re still a Malaysian tax resident. 


Conclusion: 

There are many tax privileges to be enjoyed as a Malaysian tax resident. Thus, if you (Malaysian or foreigner) had stayed not more than 182 days in Malaysia for the year 2022, it does not mean that you are not a tax resident in Malaysia. You could qualify as a tax resident in Malaysia by fulfilling any one of the 3 criteria. 

So, if your residency status is more complicated, it is ideal to engage a qualified, experienced, and licensed tax advisor to assist you with your tax matters. 


Ian Tai
Ian Tai

Financial Content Machine. Dividend Investor. Produced 500+ Financial Articles featured in KCLau.com in Malaysia and the Fifth Person, Value Invest Asia, and Small Cap Asia in Singapore. Regular Host and Presenter of a Weekly Financial Webinar with KCLau.com. Co-Founded DividendVault.com, an online membership site that empowers retail investors to build a stock portfolio that pays rising dividends year after year in Malaysia and Singapore.

    35 replies to "Am I a Tax Resident in Malaysia?"

    • S

      Hi,

      I came to Malaysia on 5th July 2023 and stayed till 22 Dec 2023 which is 170 days. Went out for vacation on 22nd Dec and came back to Malaysia on 2nd Jan 2024.
      Stayed in Malaysia from 2nd Jan to 15th May 2024.

      Please let me know if I qualify for tax resident considering 14 days temporary absence i.e. 170 + 14 = 184 days.

    • Dr. Khan

      Hi, would you by any chance know the process of claiming back the tax after the 182 days of the link year? I do understand that once the link period is over we can, not sure how to? Thank you so much

    • Kai

      Hi
      I came to Malaysia 6th of August 2023 as Expat, and have not left Malaysia any time yet, but will return to my home Country for 10 days mid of April 2024. I will be back again in end of April, and will for sure be more than 182 days in Malaysia in 2024. So I guess I can be considered as tax-resident, right!?
      Am I entitled to tax-reliefs(computer, child care fee,for example) for 2023 that I submit 30 April 2024?
      Thank you.

    • shanthi

      I came to Malaysia on 1st October 2023 and stayed up to December 31st. In January 2024 I was away from Malaysia for 4 days .(not to home country ). I am planning to visit Overseas for 6 days (Not to my home country). When shall I be the tax resident in Malaysia .
      Whether the stay at Malaysia in 2023 is linked with 2024.

    • Prem Kumar Ch

      I have arrived on 26th August 2023 and joined my company on 4th September 2024. I have been out of Malaysia from 16th Dec 2023 and back on 30th Dec 2023. I haven’t moved out since then…so is there any provision for me to travel out of Malaysia in 2024 now under 14 days and still become tax resident for both 2023 & 2024? If not kindly elaborate my path to becoming tax resident for both the years.

      • KCLau

        Dear Prem,

        It’s important to note that I’m not a tax professional, but I can offer a general understanding based on your situation regarding tax residency in Malaysia.

        For the year 2023, considering you’ve mentioned your periods of stay and travel, it seems that you have been in Malaysia for less than 182 days. The Malaysian tax system generally determines tax residency based on the physical presence of an individual in Malaysia for 182 days or more in a calendar year. Thus, for 2023, based on the information you provided, you would likely be considered a non-resident for tax purposes.

        Moving on to 2024, to qualify as a tax resident, you would need to ensure that you stay in Malaysia for more than 182 days during the calendar year. This can be continuous or with breaks, but the total must exceed 182 days within the year. If you’re planning any travel out of Malaysia in 2024, it would be crucial to plan those trips in such a way that your total days spent in Malaysia still meet or exceed this threshold to establish tax residency for the year.

        Since tax matters can be complex and have significant implications, I strongly recommend consulting with a tax professional or advisor who can provide tailored advice based on your specific circumstances, including any provisions that might apply to your situation for maintaining tax residency across two consecutive years.

        I hope this provides a clear starting point for your planning, but please seek professional advice for a comprehensive and accurate assessment of your tax residency status.

    • shoonlaeaung

      Hello I would like to know for my tax deductions.
      I arrived 1st August 2023, and 30% is still deducted until Jan 2024.
      And i traveled overseas from 24 Dec 2023 to 6 Jan 2024 (about 12days) .
      I want to know will they keep deduct 30% this year 2024 also??

    • Yips12

      Is there any importance to being in Malaysia at the turn of the new year and this rule around ‘linked’ periods?

      For instance, suppose you were a Malaysian tax resident in 2023 (250 days spent there) and in Malaysia on 31/12/2023 and 01/01/2024. You left Malaysia on 02/01/2024 (1 day spent in Malaysia for 2024), does that make you a tax resident there for 2024? Also, suppose you took a trip outside of Malaysia in November 2023 for 25 days (breaking the 14-day social visit rule thing). Would this mean that 2024 is not linked to the second half of 2023?

      • KCLau

        We are not sure.
        Do consult a tax professional for your unique situation. Please be reminded that we are not tax professionals.

    • Akbar

      Hi ,
      I would like to know what will be my tax status in 2022 and 2023 as per below data. Also i heard that 14 days temporary absence is allowed when link one year to next year. is it one time visit or can we do 2 times as 7 days and 7 days ?
      My details:
      2018 – Tax Resident
      2019 – Tax Resident
      2020 – Tax Resident
      2021 – Tax Resident
      2022 – Not in Malaysia
      2023 – (1st Oct to 1st Dec) and (29th Dec to 31st Dec) in Malaysia – Total 63 days only
      2024 – (1st Jan to 29 Feb) and (6th March to 30th April ) and ( 8th May to 31 Dec 2024) – 354 days in Malaysia
      but there is 2 times temporary absence ( 5 days in March and 7 days in May)

      • KCLau

        You might qualify as a tax resident using the “link year” rule for year 2023.
        Do consult a tax professional for your unique situation. Please be reminded that we are not tax professionals.

        • Akbar

          Thank you for your reply.

          So it means, we can take multiple social visits and if the total days within 14 days, then it will be ok for link year to next year. am I correct?

    • Maeirah

      Hi there
      Its a very insightful post and have been looking for clear cut elaboration for a while. However, I have a question. If I have been in country more than 90 days in each year from 2019-2022, but in 2023 I have been in country for less than a month (covid hospitalization and family emergency) and I plan to leave in 2024 either after 90 days or touch down 80-90 days. So what should my status be in 2023 and 2024. From what I understand it should be resident.

      • KCLau

        Were you a Malaysia tax resident from 2019-2022 (have to be >182 days)?
        And will you be a tax resident for 2024 (have to be >182 days)?
        You might qualify as a tax resident using the “missing year” rule.
        Do consult a tax professional for your unique situation. Please be reminded that we are not tax professionals.

    • Andrea

      Hi.

      I arrived here in Malaysia on August 2023 so I am still a no-resident for taxes and I am paying 30%. My 182 days here should end by the end of February bur is it possible to link years 2023 and 2024? I mean, I will become tax resident by the end of February or by June after 182 days considering only 2024?

      I want to understand if I will pay 30% taxes only until February or until June

      • KCLau

        The tax filing is on yearly basis.
        You will be a tax resident in 2024 and will pay lower tax rate for all the income made in 2024.

    • Albert

      Hi KCLau
      Would be greatful if you could advice me on my situation.

      YA 2017 to 2019: is a Msia tax resident (reason stay in msia more than 183days)
      YA 2020 & 2021: is a Msia tax resident (on gov special covid tax conssesion and only 30days in Msia)
      YA 2022: is a Msia tax resident (sec7.1(c) even stay in msia for 125days only)
      YA 2023: is a Msia tax resident (reason stay in msia more than 183days)
      YA 2024: ?

      above is my tax resident status. My question is for YA2024 (this year) i only plan to stay for 100days in Msia, can i still be a msia tax resident under sec7.1(c) which state that my 3 of 4 preceding YA is a tax resident, even YA 2022 I HAVE USED THE SAME SEC 7.1(C)?

      • KCLau

        I think so.
        To be sure, engage a tax professional to file your taxes.

    • Khurram

      Hi Eric,
      Thank you for the exceptional post, I just want to confirm that this 182 days doesn’t have to be consecutive. right?
      I have been in Malaysia for more than it can be with gaps more than 14 days as long i spend total of more than 182 days in Malaysia for each year of my stay in Malaysia. right?

      • KCLau

        No, it doesn’t have to be consecutive 182 days.

    • SAJITH M BABU

      Hi
      I came to Malaysia on Aug 8 2023. I went out of malaysia on Dec 8 2023 and came back on 21 Dec 2023.Is it possible for me to move out of malaysia in 2024 April for 11 days.?

    • John Tetley

      Hello,

      I have a question regarding tax residency thresholds from cumulative days in Malaysia. In the past 3 years, my time in Malaysia is as follows: 2023 = 130 days, 2022 = 147 days, 2021 = zero days.

      In 2024, can I stay in Malaysia 180 days maximum (or what maximum) without becoming tax resident?

      Thank you for any guidance.

      • KCLau

        In Malaysia, tax residency is typically determined by the number of days you spend in the country in a calendar year. Generally, if you stay in Malaysia for 182 days or more in a calendar year, you are considered a tax resident for that year. This rule is part of the “182-day rule” which is commonly used to determine tax residency in many countries.

        Based on your stay in the past three years (2023, 2022, and 2021), you were not a tax resident in any of these years as you did not meet the 182-day threshold in any single year.

        For 2024, to avoid becoming a tax resident under the 182-day rule, you should plan to stay in Malaysia for no more than 181 days. However, it’s important to note that there are other criteria that can affect tax residency, such as the intent of stay, employment status, and other ties to Malaysia.

        Additionally, Malaysia has specific rules for determining tax residency over multiple years, which can sometimes complicate the calculation. Therefore, I recommend consulting with a tax professional or advisor who is familiar with Malaysian tax laws to get precise guidance based on your specific situation.

        Please remember that tax laws can be complex and subject to change, so professional advice is always advisable to ensure compliance and to understand any potential tax liabilities.

        If you have any further questions or need assistance in finding a tax consultant, please feel free to reach out.

    • Ola

      Hello,

      I arrived Malaysia on 24th July 2023.

      During this period I was away for 2 days in August and plan to exit malaysia on 12 December – 23 Jan 2024.

      If I stayed the remaining days of 2024 in Malaysia (more than 182 days) will I still be eligible for tax residence for 2023 even though I was away for almost 3 weeks in January 2024?

      Kindly advice

      • KCLau

        I think so. Best to always consult a tax consultant before filing your taxes.

    • Nicky

      Hallo,
      I arrived in Malaysia in August 2023, in order to link my 2023 to 2024 do I have to be in the country for 31 December and 1 January?

      Also does the 14 days social leave only apply to my 2024 182 consecutive days?
      Can I come and go as I please during 2023 and only use my 14 days in 2024 or does the 14 days apply to the full time Aug 2023- Jun 2024?

    • JJ

      Hi,
      I arrived in Malaysia for work last June 4, 2023 and 182 days is on December 3, 2023. There is a rule that you shouldn’t be out of Malaysia for 14 days as per my employer. Also, I will be taxed for December a flat 30%.
      My questions were:
      1. Is it true that my tax will be flat rate of 30% until December 2023.
      2. Given that I have stayed in Malaysia for 182 days as of December 3, 2023, can I already be do a holiday vacation in my home country for 3 weeks in December?

      Thank you!

      • KCLau

        Hi JJ, we are not qualified to give you any tax advice, especially a unique case like yours.
        I suggest that you consult a qualified tax professional.
        Welcome to Malaysia.

    • TD

      Hi Eric,
      I moved to Malaysia on 2nd Jul 2022. till end of Dec 2022 I was away for business travel for 25 day, social visit 1 day. I am still working in Malaysia for the whole year 2023. for the 1st 6 month of 2023, I had social visit 31 days. Am I qualified as tax residence in 2022? the 182 days rule of the following year only applicable for the 1st 182 days in 2023 or apply for full year?

      • KCLau

        2nd part of your questions: It applies for full year
        1st part of your questions: My opinion is Yes.

        I suggest you talk to qualified accountant to verify your tax residency status.

    • L

      Hello, I would like to ask you question. Going to Sabah from Kuala Lumpur is considered going abroad? Do they count as going out Malaysia? for less than 14 days out rules.

      • KCLau

        I don’t think Sabah is considered out of the country.

    • Erik

      Hello,
      I would like to ask you a question. Is there a possibility that I can become tax resident in Malaysia if I stayed in Malaysia more than 182 days but worked let’s say only 140 days?

      • Ian Tai

        Hi Eric,

        Yes. It says that one needs to stay / reside in Malaysia for >182 days. You can work for 140 days and have road trips and weekend offs for 60 days and still be qualified as a tax resident in Malaysia.

    • Erik

      Hello,

      I would like to ask you a question. Is there a possibility that I can become tax resident in Malaysia if I stayed in Malaysia more than 182 days but worked let’s say only 140 days?

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