The government has set September 30 as the deadline for property owners to pay their 2020 tax as a large number of property owners have not yet obliged.

A General Department of Taxation (GDT) directive noted that many property owners have not fulfilled their obligation to pay property tax for this year.

A GDT official who asked not to be named told The Post on Wednesday that presently, GDT officials are going directly to the property owners to inform them about the obligation and demand that they re-evaluate the value of any property that they have upgraded.

The official said: “We have our officers go down directly to all districts in Phnom Penh and re-assess property values for updates and inform owners they are obliged to pay tax.

“The tax is actually not all that much, but we want to build a culture of paying taxes.”

The official said tax officers in some key provinces will also provide recommendations to property owners to avoid any fines in the future if they want to sell.

Anthony Galliano, the CEO of financial services firm Cambodia Investment Management Co Ltd, told The Post that Cambodia’s property taxes are unrealistically low and are misaligned with other countries in the region which benefit from practical tax rates.

He said: “The boom in the condo, borey [gated community], and commercial real estate markets over the last five years should have translated into an upsurge in property taxes, contributing to the national coffers.

“Instead, impractically low property tax revenues account for just 0.1 per cent of the country’s GDP [gross domestic product].”

He said the argument from the property sector – primarily agents and developers – is to keep taxes low and encourage buying in the real estate market.

Taxes can be increased by raising the exemption tier from the present $25,000 to $50,000 or $75,000, he said. The tax can be considerably increased from the current rate of 0.1 per cent to a more realistic level.

“This will safeguard low to middle-class property owners and apply more appropriate tax rates to wealthier owners,” said Galliano.