Cambodia generated more than $3.6 billion in 2023 through the General Department of Taxation (GDT), slightly exceeding the targets set in the 2023 Law on Financial Management and surpassing 2022’s revenue.

A press release from the GDT, issued during its annual meeting on January 23, showed that in 2023, the department collected approximately $3.612 billion for the national budget, representing 101.13% of the budget law’s forecasted amount, marking an increase of about $155.13 million or 4.49% year-on-year.

“The GDT has successfully implemented the government’s Revenue Mobilisation Strategy 2019-23. The plan focuses on updating and modernising tax policy and administration to enhance the capacity, efficiency and effectiveness of tax revenue collection management,” the statement read.

Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth, who presided over the meeting, said the GDT is a crucial institution for national income collection. 

He noted that the earnings exceeded expectations, despite the challenging global economic climate and risks posed by global political uncertainty.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on January 25 that the enforcement of tax laws, simplification of procedures and improved taxpayer understanding have contributed to the increase. 

He said this is particularly noteworthy given the series of challenges the global economy has faced over the past few years.

Vanak added that tax proceeds play a significant role in enabling the government to invest in national economic growth. 

He said this is essential for achieving the Kingdom’s goal of becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and high-income one by 2050.

“Exceeding the annual tax revenue target is commendable, especially when the global economy is struggling and some national and international economic activities are stagnant. The more tax collected, the more the government can utilise for development,” he explained.

Vanak also noted that the country is currently attracting new investment projects in various sectors. He anticipates that as these businesses begin operations, the country will be able to collect more tax.

However, he urged the GDT to make further efforts to enhance the efficiency and transparency of collection, particularly in the real estate sector, focusing on building updates and unused land types.

Kong Vibol, director-general of the GDT, previously stated that although the body’s earnings continue to show positive trends, uncertainty in the context of the global economic downturn, particularly due to the Russia-Ukraine war, continues to exert pressure on sources of capital for major investments.

“Rising inflation may pose a risk in managing tax revenue collection, particularly if it falls short of the targets set in the Law on Financial Management for 2023. This could especially impact the basis for forecasting and planning for the next year,” he said at the time.

According to the GDT, over the past five years, tax collection has shown a steady increase in value, reaching $2.819 billion in 2019 (equivalent to 123.2% of that year’s budget law), $2.889 billion in 2020 (101.36%), $2.782 billion in 2021 (124.02%), and $3.455 billion in 2022 (122.54%).