The General Department of Taxation (GDT) has collected some $1.43 million in fines from more than 6,000 vehicles with unpaid tax last year, according an announcement on Wednesday.

From February 1 until the end of March, GDT completed the process of fining vehicle owners with outstanding tax from last year, generating $1.43 million from 6,320 vehicles nationwide.

In an attempt to combat corruption and ensure transparency, GDT has allowed taxpayers to pay their fines at Acleda Bank and Canadia Bank since 2013 and has recently made payments available at Vattanac Bank and Cambodia Public Bank. Additional fines will apply to those who did not pay by February 1

Road tax is imposed on all vehicles except for motorbikes, ambulances, military vehicles, police cars, agricultural vehicles, embassy cars and vehicles used by international organisations.

Unpaid in rural areas

Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey said a lack of information among people in rural areas is the cause of many unpaid taxes.

“Information alerts to citizens are still limited – they could forget it while they are working,” he said. “GDT should figure how to connect citizens closely, such as by directly sending SMS messages,” he said.

GDT and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport need to work well together to share data and alert vehicle owners of road tax dues, he added.

“Updating vehicle numbers from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport will help display new ownership of vehicles, and GDT can figure out a proper, level-headed system for payment,” he said.

Chey said the number of vehicles fined is still relatively small, with many more vehicles across the country failing to pay their road taxes, especially in remote areas.

GDT rarely discloses tax collection revenues, though they reported they collected more than $2 billion in total tax revenue last year, up 13.37 per cent from the same period in 2017.

According to the GDT report, tax collection revenues have increased an average of 20 per cent annually over the last five years, with $1.06 billion collected in 2014, $1.3 billion in 2015, $1.5 billion in 2016 and $1.97 billion in 2017.