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Tax dept sends warning to property owners

A lack of payment for property tax has led the General Department of Taxation to issue a warning this week to property owners, reminding them that penalties will apply to those who miss this year’s payment deadline.

“To make property tax collection on time, GDT would like to notify everyone who has not paid tax for their property to do it before the 30th of September. Failing to do so, the property owners will be fined on top of the tax required,” the notice, dated July 31, though released on the GDT website this week, reads.

As of August 4, just 3,700 taxpayers have paid up their property tax this year, according to So Phonnary, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Acleda Bank, one of two agencies collecting tax for the government.

Phonnary said the delay might stem from the lack of information about property tax obligations.

“It can be that people are not aware of paying property tax, but it can also be that there are announcements, but people do not pay attention to it,” she said.

The Acleda vice president did not have access to the number of properties registered for the tax payment.

Contacted yesterday, the GDT declined to say how many companies were registered or how much a fine would be.

Property tax is charged at 0.1 per cent on land, homes or buildings with a value greater than 100 million riel (about $25,000).

Cheng Kheng, the president of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association, said yesterday, the lack of transparency on how the revenue is being used discouraged taxpayers from paying on time.

“People know about property tax, but they do not know what benefits they get back in return. If people could see the benefits of paying tax, they will happily do it,” he said.

Since property tax was introduced in 2011, the GDT has pushed back the September 30 deadline, saying that there was a lack of resources available to handle the claims of property owners.

An early warning this year may indicate that processes are improving, said Clint O’Connell, a tax partner with firm VDB Loi.

“The goal of the GDT is to increase efficiency in tax collection and we believe that they are looking at moving to E-Filing, and E-Registration, using online calculators to assist in determining tax liabilities, also using call centers and text messages to remind owners of the due date for property tax,” he said.

O'Connell added that keeping records on new buildings, changes to existing properties and encouraging people and companies to register for property tax were the future challenges facing the GDT.

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