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Acleda takes on tax collection role

People enter a Chamkarmon district Alceda Bank branch yesterday in Phnom Penh
People enter a Chamkarmon district Alceda Bank branch yesterday in Phnom Penh. Acleda Bank started handling government tax payment services in Cambodia yesterday. Sreng Meng Srun

Acleda takes on tax collection role

Taxpayers are now able to pay their dues at Acleda Bank as the government seeks to outsource its tax revenue collection to the private sector, the head of Cambodia’s largest bank said yesterday.

In Channy, president and CEO of Acleda bank, told the Post that the tax collection switch would free up capacity in government and make it easier for people to make payments. While Acleda’s systems were better equipped to track revenues flowing in to the economy, he said.

“When we can provide good public services, it helps to ensure working efficiency of the private sector,” he said. “The new system reduces risk and helps us to know the sources of taxes by keeping [a clear] record.”

All taxes, including property, company and stamp duty tax, will now be accepted at Acleda’s 251 branches. The same rate will be charged as at government offices but with better services, Channy said.

Clint O’Connell, a partner at Phnom Penh-based tax firm VDB/Loi, welcomed the move yesterday as a win for both taxpayers and the government.

“Acleda has a number of branches all over the country. This should make payments easier, and by doing so should help with tax compliance and should help [the government] to increase its tax revenues,” he said. “Now we have a professional third party who collects the payment, so it should make the process a lot more transparent.”

An Asian Development Bank (ADB) report published last month, which surveyed 22 tax revenue bodies from around Asia, highlighted Cambodia’s General Department of Tax as under-resourced and understaffed affecting their capacity of the government institution to fulfill all its duties.

Moving revenue collection away from the GDT, which lies under the Ministry of Economy and Finance, would help speed up government processes also said Mey Vann, director of financial industry department at the Ministry of Economy and Finance said yesterday.

“It is a good move that will improve trade facilitation for businesses and the government institution can save time when verifying the documents,” he said.

Though tax payments are to be made in riel, Acleda will accept other currencies without charging a fee, Channy also confirmed yesterday.

Cambodia’s GDT collected nearly $192 million in tax during the first quarter of this year. Last year, the GDT collected a total of $881 million in tax revenue.

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