Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - GDT’s hands tied on sign fees

GDT’s hands tied on sign fees

Traffic passes under a Smart advertisement billboard yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Traffic passes under a Smart advertisement billboard yesterday in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

GDT’s hands tied on sign fees

The tax authority yesterday refuted local media claims that it had endorsed a private sector call to end Phnom Penh City Hall’s taxation of billboards and commercial signage throughout the capital, which advocates have said imposes an onerous levy on local businesses.

In a clarification letter, the General Department of Taxation (GDT) claimed a media outlet had misinterpreted its director’s words during his recent meeting with a local business association, and emphasised that the GDT had no authority to prevent municipal officials from collecting fees on billboards and commercial signage within their jurisdiction. The fees levied by City Hall did not overlap with its own taxation of these advertising platforms, it added.

“GDT has no authority to cancel the right of Phnom Penh City Hall to collect the abovementioned fee,” the letter said. “Phnom Penh City Hall is authorised to collect fees on the approval for billboards or commercial signage, which is non-fiscal income [for the government] and does not constitute an overlap in tax charges.”

The tax authority’s announcement came one day after local tabloid La Reine stated that GDT General-Director Kong Vibol had accepted the request of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) to end City Hall’s levies on advertising billboards and commercial signage in Phnom Penh.

Lim Heng, vice president of CCC, told The Post yesterday that the “dual taxation” of billboards and commercial signage was onerous and discourages businesses from spending money on advertising to expand their business.

“It has been a sensitive issue for businesses in Phnom Penh for a long time because they always question why they need to pay both GDT and City Hall,” he said.

Heng said CCC had lobbied GDT to end City Hall’s fees, but said failing that the government should combine the two fees into a single levy, which would save businesses time and costs.

Met Measpheakdey, spokesman of Phnom Penh City Hall, explained that the fee the municipality imposes on “advertising services” such as billboards and commercial signage was mandated by the government.

“It’s our job to collect this fee in accordance with official government approval,” he said. “If GDT wants to discuss the issue, however, we would welcome collaboration.”

GDT added in its clarification letter that it would relay the concerns of the private sector to the Ministry of Economy and Finance in order to find a solution.

MOST VIEWED

  • No more Africa travel ban but new rules for arrivals

    The Ministry of Health has decided to lift the ban on travellers from or who have travelled through 10 African countries and instead issued a set of standard operating procedures to manage passenger arrivals at Cambodia’s international airports. The 10 African countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho,

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • PM blasts Vietnam general over Covid claims

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 6 expressed dismay after Vietnamese general Hoang Xuan Chien, formerly in charge of Vietnam’s border defences, claimed that Cambodia was a source of Covid-19 transmissions to the country. Speaking at the opening ceremony for National Road 11 connecting Prey Veng