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GDT: ‘Tax reforms won’t harm corporations’

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Tax Department head Kong Vibol speaks at a meeting in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

GDT: ‘Tax reforms won’t harm corporations’

The General Department of Taxation (GDT) released a statement on Wednesday aiming to quash fears that the Kingdom’s tax reforms would adversely affect corporate taxpayers, saying the moves are meant to “strengthen tax collection transparently and equitably”.

The statement came after a newspaper article headlined “Will business leave Cambodia due to reforms that raise taxes” drew attention.

Signed by director-general Kong Vibol, the statement sought to clarify that the GDT would audit business records, financial statements and other relevant documents to verify that tax declarations had been made correctly and complied with existing laws and regulations.

“The auditing and strengthening of laws and regulations is transparent and to ensure the integrity of tax payments.

“To support small enterprises and meet government policy, the GDT has to date not conducted an audit programme for such taxable enterprises.

“This does not mean that all taxpayers are subject to audits, and are all in the wrong and subject to re-assessment, depending on their level of compliance. Many taxpayers who have so far requested auditing with the GDT have received a zero riel reassessment,” the statement said.

In March, the Ministry of Economy and Finance issued a prakas on tax audits aimed at improving transparency and equality.

The statement added that the reforms are meant to ease the burden on taxpayers by eliminating double taxation audits in the same year and reducing interest rates on tax re-assessments from two per cent to 1.5 per cent.

Taxpayers will also be able to challenge their assessments within 30 days of receiving them which, if not resolved by then, will be extended to 60 days to accommodate a joint consultation.

“The GDT encourages all taxpayers to challenge any tax assessment that they consider to be incorrect,” the statement said.

Transparency International Cambodia executive director Preap Kol told The Post on Tuesday that “tax reforms over the past three years have yielded encouraging results for Cambodia”.

“[This is] a result of reduced corruption among tax and customs agents, and due to more accountable and transparent tax collection policies and strategies. Cambodia will collect even greater income from taxes when all businesses owned or supported by the powerful fully pay their taxes,” Kol said.

The GDT collected some $2.63 billion in tax revenue from January to November, accounting for 115 per cent of the government target for this year – an increase of 27.68 per cent on the $570 million collected during the same period last year.

The 2020 national budget targets a 28.1 per cent increase in revenue collection from customs and excise departments next year, reaching around $2.87 billion, or 17.72 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Revenue from tax collection would increase by 21.3 per cent to more than $2.33 billion, accounting for 7.93 per cent of GDP, according to a draft of the law before its approval in November.

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