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. 


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.

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

    • Ola


      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

      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

      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

      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


      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?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.