Although the Covid-19 outbreak has had a prolonged impact on the economy from late 2019 to 2021, it has had little effect on tax revenue, reflecting the effectiveness of tax governance and transparency efforts, according to General Department of Taxation (GDT) chief Kong Vibol.
The GDT said in a statement that it had collected more than $2.3 billion in revenue in the first 10 months of this year, marking a 5.05 per cent year-on-year decrease, noting that this represents 103.23 per cent of the annual target, as outlined in the Law on Financial Management for 2021.
Vibol said at an event last week: “I admit it’s down, but it’s not bad. Income tax in 2021 is slightly lower than in 2020, due to the fact that some sectors have been granted tax exemptions by the government.
“For instance in the banking sector: banks listed on the stock exchange had some taxes waived which has resulted in a reduction in tax revenue, but not worse than in 2020. Calculating this as a drop of about $10-$20 million in income tax, it’s not bad.”
He said that 2021 brought about “a bad situation” for the Cambodian economy as Covid led to a lockdown of almost all businesses in April, which became a major challenge affecting tax collection.
On the other hand, he noted, the emergence of modern technologies have provided alternative tax payment options, making it easier for taxpayers to fulfil their obligations without in-person interactions.
“I would like to emphasise that it is because of our reforms – through the strengthening of good governance – the reform of transparency and the e-filing system; e-VAT cross checks; e-payments and the payment of taxes through banking systems as a transparency measure which ensures that revenue collection does not leak – we are trying to prevent tax revenue from leaking as it used to,” Vibol said.
“We have made all the revenue collection go into a single channel – the government.”
“Therefore, both the state and the private sector need to strengthen good governance, which is a factor in maintaining income stability,” he added.
The GDT has said it collected 11.70052 trillion riel ($2.889 billion) in tax revenue last year, surging by 423.20 billion riel or 3.73 per cent compared to 2019.