A group of 74 families who work in the pork industry in Tbong Khmum province’s Suong Town on Sunday requested that provincial authorities cease taxing their businesses because it runs counter to the guidance they claim the Ministry of Economy and Finance offered in 2017.
Heng Hongseng, a representative of the families, said that taxation officials require the families to pay 4,000-4,500 riel ($1-$1.13) in taxes daily. If taxes are not paid, officials threaten them with higher fines.
He said the 74 families had been slaughtering pigs for sale since 1997. They paid taxes regularly until 2017 when the finance ministry submitted a request to the government asking for tax exemptions on pig and cow slaughtering businesses.
However, large-scale businesses were still required to pay taxes.
“In 2017, after we saw a letter from the Ministry of Economy and Finance to Samdech Techo Hun Sen asking for tax exemptions for small-scale pig slaughterers like us, we stopped paying taxes.
“But recently taxation officials started demanding money from residents, saying that we owe taxation money because we hadn’t paid for several months.
“We protested, but they don’t listen and still demand that we pay tax. If we don’t pay, they will take a cut of money when residents sell land or houses,” Hongseng said.
Another resident in the pig slaughter business who asked not to be named said in the past, he regularly paid taxes.
“I call on Samdech Techo [Hun Sen] and Tboung Khmum provincial authorities not to tax small pig slaughterers like us because the price of pigs has increased and pork is not selling well. So, we have no money to pay the tax.
Cambodian Youth Party (CYP) president and member of the Supreme Council for Consultation and Recommendations Pich Sros visited the area and told The Post that he investigated the case and has spoken with provincial officials.
He said the authorities could not solve the problem, but he planned to meet with General Department of Taxation director-general Kong Vibol about the issue next week.
“When I met with taxation officials in Tbong Khmum province, they emphasised that they didn’t collect taxes on the slaughter of pigs, but they taxed pork sales.
“For example, a resident slaughters a pig and that is not taxed. But when a resident sells pork, that transaction is taxed,” he said.
Tbong Khmum provincial governor Cheam Chan Sophorn declined to comment on Sunday and hung up his phone after claiming he couldn’t hear The Post’s reporter.
Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth sent a letter dated July 12, 2017, to Hun Sen stating that over the last few years, food costs in the region and worldwide had started decreasing.
But food costs in Cambodia, especially in urban areas, had increased remarkably compared to other countries.
The letter said the increase in food costs in Cambodia was not attributed completely to economic factors.
Rather, it was a management problem as monopolies in the pork industry formed to control the slaughtering, importing and transporting of pork.
To help reduce food costs, the finance ministry requested Hun Sen to exempt slaughterhouses from taxes and re-evaluate value-added taxes on essential food items.