The General Department of Taxation (GDT) collected nearly $1.3 billion dollars in tax in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of more than 22 per cent year-on-year, reflecting the improved economic situation in Cambodia after emerging from the worst of the Covid-19 crisis.

At an April 19 meeting to review tax collection results for March and the first quarter of 2022, GDT director-general Kong Vibol revealed that the department collected approximately $1.263 billion in tax through the online revenue management system – an increase of 22.25 per cent from the year before, or $229.87 million.

More than $750 million of tax was collected last month alone, up by 21.95 per cent compared to March 2021.

Vibol said that revenue from the five major tax categories all saw a significant increase compared to the same period in 2021. Income tax clocked in at $663.7 million, an increase of 23.60 per cent; value-added tax came in at $190.4 million, an increase of 15.14 per cent, and special tax amounted to $73.3 million, an increase of 15.86 per cent.

Salary tax came in at $77.49 million, increasing by 21.18 per cent, and stamp duty on transfer of property ownership clocked in at $55.79 million, increasing by 35.12 per cent.

“The state of economic activity in the past year will continue to influence the management of tax collection in the following year, especially in annual income tax. Although the Cambodian economy was affected severely by Covid-19 in 2021, the department has achieved good results in tax collection,” he said.

The good results for the department in March and the first quarter were attributable to a number of factors, the director-general said, including the “strengthening of good governance and good administration”, as well as the streamlined management of tax collection through digital systems including e-filing, e-payment and the pre-filing app.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that the increase in tax revenue this year indicates that Cambodian incomes have been on the rebound despite the continued Covid-19 crisis.

He added that the increase also shows that the production chains of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) are starting to improve, while other sectors such as sales and real estate construction also “seem to be on the rise”.

“The performance of the Cambodian economy in the first three months of 2022 seems to be much better compared to the past two years, despite continuing to experience the same Covid-19 crisis. We see that the state has suspended taxes on areas affected by Covid-19, such as tourism, but the GDT has still managed to collect tax to an impressive level,” he said.

Vanak said that tax collection may continue to increase in the second and third quarters, but may see some decline in the fourth quarter as some residents delay the paying of taxes or rush to pay tax at the beginning of next year instead to avoid fines.

He expects that in addition to the two types of tax revenue – taxes and duties – the strengthening of international trade, tourism and the promotion of foreign direct investment (FDI) by the government will enable Cambodia to achieve its economic growth target of 5.6 per cent in 2022 and 6.5 per cent in 2023.