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Tax collections reflect increased payment options

Tax collections reflect increased payment options

Government coffers received close to a billion dollars in tax revenues for the first nine months of the year, up 25 per cent compared to the same period a year earlier, with convenient tax payment options contributing to this rise, according to the latest quarterly Tax Department report.

The General Department of Taxation (GDT) report shows that the biggest tax revenue increases came from profit tax and salary tax, respectively, with both registering 20-plus per cent bumps year-on-year.

Sector-wise breakdowns showed that the financial sector reported a 40 per cent increase in revenues, the garment sector 17.5 per cent and tourism-sector tax receipts rose 11.9 per cent.

“We will follow the government’s policy in order to collect more for the national budget and provide better services to make the tax payment process more comfortable for the people,” Aun Porn Moniroth, minister of economy and finance, said in the report.

As part of this effort, and to make tax collection more transparent, the government has licensed two local banks – Acleda and Canadia – to accept tax payments, in addition to GDT offices.

Ou Sophannarith, director of finance at the Canadia Bank, said as more people embrace the formal banking sector, an increasing number have used these bank services to pay their taxes.

“Transactions from tax payers are increasing year-on-year because taxpayers are more confident with the banking system,” he said.

According to Sophannarith, mobile-payment facilities for taxes were fast catching on with his bank’s customers, and even non-customers.

“We provide the facility to taxpayers who do not have an account with us,” he said, adding that taxpayers only had to show the bank their tax registration number to make the payment.

So Phonnary, executive vice president of Acleda Bank, said the bank processed more than 700,000 tax-payment transactions in the first nine months of the year, totalling $157 million, up from the $84 million collected for all of 2014.

“Taxpayers now have more choices than before to choose an easy way to pay their taxes,” she said. “New systems in the future could facilitate tax payment at ATMs.”

The rise in tax revenue is the result of an influx of foreign investment and an improving local tax culture, said Heng Thy, a partner at auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“With the amount of international investors increasing and local businesses growing as well, tax collection will increase,” he said, “Foreign companies have a better understanding of their tax obligations.”

He added that tax officials needed to widen their tax-collection base to include more small and medium enterprises, which were reluctant to pay taxes as they felt it would increase the price of their products.

The General Department of Taxation collected more than $1.06 billion in tax revenue in 2014, an increase of about 17.7 per cent on the $900 million collected in 2013.

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