Cambodia’s General Department of Taxation and the Japan International Cooperation Agency yesterday completed a more than three-year project to improve taxpayer services and increase tax audit capacity of the government entity.
The project, started in September 2011, is the third to be completed between the two entities, with plans under way to renew it come August, according to a press release.
Adachi Itsu, chief representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Cambodia, said that going forward two Japanese experts will help the tax department strengthen tax education and further improve tax services.
“Now Cambodia is becoming a low-middle income country, it shows that Cambodian government has a sufficient budget from the tax payers rather than assistance,” Itsu said.
Itsu added that increasing tax collections will be critical after the ASEAN Economic Community integration, as customs revenues could drop given that member states will begin to enjoy customs exemptions within the regional bloc.
“After the ASEAN Economic Community integration, it shows that national tax collection can be more important to keep the same volume of national budget,” he said.
Kong Vibol, director-general of the General Department of Taxation, said the projects have been fruitful in that they have helped broaden tax officers’ knowledge on accounting practices and taxation auditing.
“GDT will carry out more training for tax officers and staff to enhance tax collection and it is a part of our task to do so,” Vibol said.
Srey Chanthy, an independent economic analyst, said progress made under JICA’s technical support will not come into effect immediately.
“If we compare our tax collection system to Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, we are weak.
Thus, we have to strengthen this tax collection system,” Chanthy said.
Tax collections for 2014 were nearly $994 million and as of the first half of this year the government had collected $707 million, up 38.5 per cent from the same period last year.