The General Department of Taxation (GDT) has collected $2.68040 billion in tax revenues year-to-date, equivalent to 95.07 per cent of the full-year target for 2022, its director-general Kong Vibol said on September 28. This leaves just over three months to reach the prescribed 11.419 trillion riel ($2.820 billion).

This represents a 26.97 per cent jump over the corresponding figure for the first nine months of 2021, or $2.11109 billion, which was equal to 94.12 per cent of the $2.24307 billion full-year goal set in the annual Law on Financial Management for that year, according to GDT statistics.

Speaking at a tax-related forum in the capital hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (AmCham), Vibol said the Kingdom’s internal revenues have been steadily increasing, buoyed by the GDTs continuous work on tax reforms.

The department has continued to upgrade the “necessary policies” and modernise the tax administration framework towards improving convenience, equity and accuracy when it comes to paying taxes, he elaborated.

On the IT front, the GDT has rolled out the ToI (tax on income) E-filing, E-Payment and other digital systems, and set up an e-Tax Service support team to resolve many of the issues that officials or taxpayers face, he added.

Vibol also explained that the department regularly updates information related to businesses, especially pertaining to growth over time, in terms of revenues, scale of operations, and overall size.

On the other hand, the GDT did not impose new taxes or raise existing levies during Covid-19, but instead provided incentives, he stressed, adding: “The rise in tax revenues we’re seeing now is not from us raising taxes, but rather us expanding their scope as well as improving the transparency of our tax collection system.”

He also credited the increase to reforms to the tax system in “all areas”, from registration, auditing, debt management, dispute resolution and other taxpayer services that make paying taxes easier.

According to Vibol, the GDT now expects to collect from 110-115 per cent of the full-year target for 2022 by end-December. Accounting for rounding, this range can be represented as $3.087-3.258 billion. For reference, the GDT said it collected $2.782 billion in revenue last year.

Speaking to The Post on September 29, Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, commented that worldwide, fiscal revenues play a crucial role in state spending, public investment and other governmental processes.

He voiced confidence that Cambodian tax revenues would remain on an upward trend, undergirded by the ongoing steady stream of investment inflows into the Kingdom.

Vanak claimed that efforts to strengthen governance in tax matters and improving the associated technology systems have led to “more people paying their taxes”.

He predicted that GDT revenues would pick up before long, especially after the government winds back at least some of the Covid-related tax breaks, particularly the tourism and other sector-specific levy exemptions once recovery in the respective field is deemed to be firmly rooted.

Still, observations suggest that the overall tax collection regime as it stands could be fine-tuned for effectiveness and transparency, according to Vanak.