The General Department of Taxation (GDT) reported that it collected 6.095 billion riel, or about $1.52 million, in taxes and fines between January 15 and February 28 from the owners of 8,537 vehicles and other means of transport who failed to pay their levies by the November 30 deadline.

The GDT stressed in a March 3 statement that it will keep working with the competent authorities to crack down on untaxed vehicles, at undisclosed target areas nationwide, in a bid to ensure the equality and transparency of the collection system for road taxes and such dues.

The statement called on vehicle owners to pay any taxes and charges owed at the GDT, provincial or district tax branches, or partner banks. It also warned that manoeuvres on the road to avoid getting pulled over by the authorities risk traffic jams and other untoward incidents.

It noted that the crackdown is consistent with the legal and regulatory framework on tax collection on means of transport, particularly Prakas No 531 MEF PrK dated May 30, 2018.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, commented to The Post on March 7 that the figures cited by the GDT are indicative of Cambodians’ overall limited understanding of tax laws and taxpayer obligations, even with authorities constantly spreading the word during each tax season.

Greater understanding of tax obligations will translate into more state revenues for the development of the country, he asserted, attributing non-payment of road taxes in part to a general lack of awareness of how perks tied to a vehicle’s model year apply.

With the clampdown campaign having been in effect for just under two months, “the amount of money amassed from fines will keep piling up”, he said with a hint of pessimism.

The GDT says that it collected $3.45511 billion in revenues last year, exceeding the $2.81955 billion annual target by 22.54 per cent and marking a 24.20 per cent jump over the $2.78192 billion total that it had reported for 2021.

In 2022, vehicles and other means of transport totalling 882,606 were taxed, generating 422.1689 billion riel, or about $102.23 million, in revenue for the state, it said.