The General Department of Taxation (GDT) on March 30 set a new record for single-day revenue collection of $236 million, Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced.

Tax revenue in the first quarter of 2022 reached $1.2 billion, exceeding the $1.032 billion netted over the same period in 2021.

Presiding over the inauguration of the Chaom Chao interchange the day after, Hun Sen said March 30 made him “very happy” because of the record-setting figure, which brings the total tax revenue for the month of March to $620 million.

Figures from the GDT reveal it collected $288 million in January and $223 million in February. As of March 30, revenue collected had reached $1.132 billion.

“Yesterday [March 30] was considered the happiest time of the year for me. Why? Because it was a record-breaking day for internal revenue,” the prime minister said. “The one-day internal tax revenue … was $236 million, and if we take into account the 30 days in March, it was $620 million,” he said.

Hun Sen said that according to GDT leaders, there was a “possibility” that revenue collected on the last day of March “could exceed” $100 million.

The increase in revenue collection in March was largely attributable to the fact that it is the month that companies must legally pay taxes on corporate profits.

Hun Sen said that tax revenue figures, when combined with customs revenue for March, means that the Cambodian government earned “more than $900 million”.

In the first quarter of 2021, the GDT collected $1.032 billion in tax revenue – $217 million in January, $200 million in February and $615 million in March.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post that the increase in tax revenue indicates that the Cambodian economy has improved as people have begun to spend more. He also noted that the process of paying taxes has become easier and more streamlined for taxpayers on the whole, thereby encouraging them to file their taxes promptly and accurately.

Vanak noted that the tax revenue will increase “even more” in the future, especially when the tourism and construction sectors “fully recover” in the post-pandemic era.

However, he offered a word of caution to tax authorities, saying that in order to collect revenue more effectively, they “must make more efforts to strengthen the efficiency of tax collection to prevent tax revenue from ‘leaking’ as it used to”.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng said that although the Covid-19 pandemic had yet to be decisively controlled worldwide, economic activity in the Kingdom has begun to recover, leading to the increase in tax revenue.

He cited the population’s high vaccination rate and the reopening of the country as being the most significant driving forces behind the resumption of production in almost all sectors.

“When the production chain is resumed, it not only helps people earn an income, but also helps the state collect more taxes and duties,” Heng said.

According to data from the GDT, revenue collection in 2021 reached $2.78192 billion, exceeding the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s original projections by 24.02 per cent, or $538.85 million.