The General Department of Taxation (GDT) on January 26 announced that it collected $2.78192 billion in taxes last year, outstripping the annual target of $2.24307 billion set in the Law on Financial Management for 2021 by 24.02 per cent or $538.85 million.
However, this was a 3.71 per cent drop from the $2.88902 billion collected by the department in 2020, which had risen by $104.49 million or 3.73 per cent from the corresponding figure in 2019, as indicated by statistics from the GDT, a unit under the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
In December alone, tax revenues were to the tune of over $221.68 million – 9.88 per cent of the annual target – or down 9.34 per cent from $244.52 million in November.
Despite the uncertainties surrounding the national and global economic situation – especially in the context of the spread of Covid-19 and epidemiological waves, and the constant evolution of SARS-CoV-2 – the GDT’s tax collection has maintained significant growth, it said in a statement.
GDT director-general Kong Vibol said the results were inseparable from the launch of a series of new strategies to effectively manage the pandemic situation, including a proactive and prompt vaccination campaign aimed at herd immunity, which led to the government’s decision in early November to allow the country to resume socio-economic activities.
He also noted that the GDT has introduced a number of technologies and systems designed to make life easier for taxpayers and promote compliance and transparency in tax matters, which he said offset the year-on-year decline in revenue collection.
He listed some of these as the Tol E-Filling, E-Document Submission System as well as other online systems to declare and pay property and vehicle taxes, Cambodia Data Exchange (CamDX), and flow-meter set-ups for breweries and other beverage production facilities.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on January 27 that tax revenues had remained relatively stable despite Covid, which he attributed to growth in business registrations by local and foreign investors, the modernisation of online tax declaration and payment procedures, and the expansion and optimisation of collection.
In addition to the recently-introduced “effective and transparent” tax revenue collection strategies, he said, the new investment law as well as the current and future bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements will prop up tax revenue collection from 2022.
“Although the Covid-19 crisis lingers on, I remain confident that tax revenue collection will grow in 2022,” Heng said.
Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth emphasised that despite the slight decline in the face of Covid, the GDT always performs better than estimated.