Saturday, May 8, 2010

When to go beyond "Salary" ?

When your personal income increases, you start to pay more taxes too. It was mentioned before there are certain income Stepping that one should watch out for to optimize tax planning. For example, as your total annual income is approaching MYR 100,000 in Malaysia, you are most likely to be paying maximum taxes like a company's ie. 27%.

So you pay about MYR 15,000 taxes so your net income become MYR 85,000 ( exclude other deductions for the purpose of this article ). Then you will proceed paying your due diligences like house loan, car loan and all your other expenses etc. Lets say those total up to MYR 73,000 so you would have a remaining income of MYR 12,000; Or MYR 1,000 a month.

As mentioned before, if the taxation laid upon a business is similar ie. 27%, then perhaps you can create a business of your own. Then sell yourself back to your current employer doing exactly the same stuff so that it has no impact what so ever to your employer's operation (*1).

As a business owner, you should deduct all costs incurred in order to perform your business (job) before you come up with a profit, which is then taxable. Lets say MYR 50,000 of your expenses can be qualified as business expenses. Then you may end up with paying less tax ie. MYR 13,500

$100,000 - $50,000 = $50,000 x 27% = $ 13,500

There are still MYR 23,000 expenses that are not classified as business expenses, hence you will end up with a remaining income of $13,500; instead of just $12,000 if you keep your 'job'.

$50,000 - $13,500 (tax) - $23,000 (non biz expenses) = $13,500

In this scenario simply by changing the 'mode' of how things work can save you a thousand or two. As you may have noticed, the difference is not that big. Hence, if you have been working whole your life; Annual income of MYR 100,000 is the magic number where you should start thinking if you want to continue working a job or start building something of your own.

This difference will become significant as your salary increases beyond MYR 100,000.

However, there are quite a handful of knowledge and skills you will need before you can make a switch like this successfully.
  • setting and maintaining a business will cost money
  • no employer means no one pays your EPF
  • security, liability, risk and reward will have different meanings
  • classifying business expenses is an important skill
  • all business expenses should help the business grows
  • pay yourself maximum non taxable salary, pay yourself EPF ...
In real and practical world, a smart guy doing this would NOT only save a thousand or two. But the actual tax saving should be 50%-80%, ie. from $15,000 to $3,500.

(*1) There WILL BE some impacts to the company especially account and human resource wise. In short, the company saves money by not paying you EPF and other cost to maintain an employee. Hence in practical world, one would ask for more than $100,000 when converting from an employment to a contract staff.

Most of you will think it is NOT possible to switch from an employment to a contractual staff without affecting the operation and yourself, only a few of you will start to think how to make that happen. Like wise, I can assure you that some has already made that switch successfully, although just a handful. But none of them were given any guideline or magic numbers like this article. So you are now equipped better than them. Hope you can get something out of this ...


ChampDog said...

This is the good one and I think we need carefully understand the risk of getting retrenched or getting your contract renewed before making the switch too.

Mt. said...

yes, its a matter of depending on others to provide you security or build your own secure fences. I like to keep stuff like this under control so that when it goes bad, I know exactly where the hole is to patch.

Jimmy Tech Daily said...

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